Malicious Software Ignorance Is Not Bliss

Hackers and computer viruses have long been popularized in movies and the media. Although the term hacker has been affectionately used to describe particularly dedicated and skilled computer geeks, it is also used in negative context to describe those who abuse that knowledge for criminal activity. As high-speed Internet connections and personal computers proliferate, these so-called "black hat" hackers continue to amass an impressive arsenal of tools. These tools may be placed into a few major categories according to their primary characteristics. All of the descriptive terms, some of which you've no doubt heard in reference to computers, such as virus, worm, or spyware, all fall under the single category called malware: software designed to do bad things.

It's important to understand the differences between the major types of malware because the computer industry is still evolving to fight these threats. At this time, there is no single silver bullet that solves all problems. The computer user who understands the fundamentals of malware is in a better position to make informed decisions and avoid potentially disastrous consequences. This chapter explains the major threat categories and how, when configured properly, Windows 7 can effectively arm you better than ever against malware.

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