Hackers, Spyware and Trojans – What You Need to Know

Online shopping, online banking and general storage of personal information on personal computers have made consumers more vulnerable to identity theft than ever before. You now have to worry about hackers, spyware, and Trojan horse programs. With the right software, hackers can crack your login information including usernames and passwords. With this information, they can access your bank accounts, credit card accounts and other types of accounts.

Spyware and Trojan horse programs can be even more dangerous. They are both forms of malicious software also called malware. Spyware is software that is installed on your computer either directly or inadvertently. It runs in the background of your computer and secretly monitors different programs. It can be used to monitor your keystrokes, for example, and steal your login information to different sites. It can also monitor your Internet activity--which pages you visit, what things you buy, etc. Some parents use spyware to monitor their child's computer usage. It is more deviously and illegally used by con artists looking to steal identities.

A Trojan horse program is similar to spyware except that it is packaged as another program. These programs are much like the ancient story of Troy where the Greeks presented the Trojans with a large wooden horse as a peace offering. While the city slept, Greek soldiers emerged from the horse and attacked. A Trojan horse computer program also masquerades as something innocuous like a computer game. When you download it from the Internet, you also unwittingly download the malware. This program creates what is known as a "backdoor" to your computer, which thieves can use to obtain your sensitive information. Additional sinister uses of Trojan horses can be to spy on you through your microphone and web cam (if you have one), use your email to send spam messages and use your computer to store or traffic illegal files like child pornography.

These programs that infect your computer can be there for ages without you even knowing. The best programs are designed to operate stealthily behind the scenes. In some cases, you may notice your application running slowly or unexpectedly quitting. Few people will attribute such problems to malware, however. The most effective way to defend your computer against malware is with a good firewall application. Firewalls are programs that serve as a barrier between your computer and outside networks. They restrict unauthorized users from accessing your network.

You can download an exceptional free firewall software to protect your computer from internal and external threats from Comodo. Comodo Firewall is freeware that is designed to be used by both beginners and advanced users. Comodo Firewall prevents viruses, worms, spyware, and other malware as well as hackers and other attempts to access or modify your computer system.

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