Our lives have become intertwined with modern-day technologies. Even with the onset of IT support services making vast improvements to safeguard our digital information, huge threats remain. Proprietors of these specific computer threats are able to adapt to technological advancements in security. This subsequently creates new dangers that could circumvent in-place defense systems.

Although these security threats may have evolved, some of the names and categories they are organized under have largely remained the same. Here are six most common computer security threats found online:

1. Virus

The basic designation given to a computer security threat. Computer viruses are essentially malicious pieces of software that are inherently structured to be spread from one computer to another. These common computer security threats can accompany things such as email attachments or, most commonly, be downloaded from websites.

If the website is suspicious on the surface, then the subsequent downloads are potentially designed to infect your computer using systems on your given network. Viruses can disable your security settings and steal data present on your computer such as your personal information. Keep your security systems up-to-date and avoid websites that do not appear user-friendly.

2. Adware

Adware is a type of software that is designed to track data influenced by how you maneuver on the internet. This includes making a note of browsing habits, and showing subsequent advertisements or pop-ups as a result. This does not even have to be illegal. Many companies will use this as a source of revenue.

However, adware can noticeably make your computer processor and internet connection slower if it piles on. Adware becomes illegal when something is downloaded without consent. This may come in the form of spyware, which is software installed on your computer without your own knowledge. Spyware contains keyloggers, which records personal information and can increase the risk of identity theft as a result.

3. Trojan Horse

This type of threat is taken straight from the ancient Greek story, in which the Greeks used confusion to win the war against the Trojans. A Trojan, in this day and age, is recognized as a malicious piece of software that tricks users into running behind what would appear to be a legitimate computer program.

However, what lies on the other end is a piece of software that can record your passwords or hack into your webcam. Trojans are often spread by email attachments, but can also extend their reach once a false advertisement is clicked on. These common computer security threats are often found lurking below the surface. Be wary when browsing, as something that appears user-friendly may be anything but.

4. Computer Worm

A worm can be looked at as an advanced type of computer virus. These types of malicious software can duplicate themselves in rapid fashion, allowing itself to spread from computer to computer. The worm’s first destination is to reach an infected computer’s contacts, and then move instantaneously to the computers of those contacts.

Usually, computer worms are used by hackers when they are able to exploit a defense system. This is generally done by taking advantage of any glaring weaknesses within installed software on a computer. Consequently, it allows worms to travel rapidly without interruption.

5. DoS Attack

Known as “denial-of-service,” a DoS Attack is commonly referred to as a harmful traffic overload conducted when a website is overloaded with traffic. It is commonly performed by flooding one website with such an abundance of traffic that it makes it almost impossible to access.

Sometimes, digital assailants will evolve this weapon of choice into a form called a DDoS Attack, or, “distributed denial-of-service.” Instead of being launched from one particular computer, a DDoS Attack is launched from several. This subsequently makes the attack harder to recover from, as the reach of the computers working together can ultimately be global in scale.

6. Phishing

This type of computer security threat is similar to adware, but can come across as wholly legitimate to the naked eye. The primary goal of attackers who use phishing is to obtain personal information stored on your computer such as passwords or credit card numbers. Phishing can come in the form of email links, which can appear genuine to the recipient. Once clicked on, malicious software is immediately installed on the recipient’s system. Most of these legitimate links in question should be ignored, if your gut is telling you it appears suspicious. If it appears too good to be true, it usually is.

Attackers using computer security threats feed on people’s inability to decipher wrong from right. However, staying up-to-date with the more advanced forms of computer threats can certainly aid in your ability to ward off these threats. We live in such an interconnected age, that it is almost impossible to not become a target at some point. The more informed and protected you become, however, the better your chances of remaining secure in the digital age.

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