Showing posts with label Virus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Virus. Show all posts

Dec 5, 2014

Adware, Malware, Phishing, Spyware, Trojan Horse, Virus, and Warez

These terms show up often, especially during the holidays when more people than ever are cruising the web for bargains. Here are a few descriptions to help you understand the lingo.

Adware is typically an application that shows users an excessive amount of advertising in return for providing a service of little value. There is a grey area from most anti-virus companies as to how to handle adware, because so many applications have begun to show ads.

Malware generally is an all-encompassing term used to describe any harmful program. This includes spyware, viruses, and phishing scams.

Phishing and spyware are closely related. They work by tricking users and sending user information to a third party. A phishing application or website will pretend to be from a trusted source to try and trick a person into entering personal information.

Spyware tries to hide itself from users. It is an application that reads user information and data without the user actually knowing it - and reporting it back to a third party. This includes keystroke loggers to steal passwords or credit card information.

A trojan horse is a specific type of virus. The app pretends to be something useful, or helpful, or fun while causing harm or stealing data. This term is often used to describe spyware and phishing attacks as well.

The term virus term has mostly been replaced by malware, although there is a subtle difference. Virus typically takes control of the operating system and either damages it, or uses it for its own purposes. An example might be sending emails to everyone in the email address book.

Warez typically refers to pirated or unlicensed software. The files are stolen from the real developers.

Bottom line - Adware is aggravating, but not usually harmful. Phishing and trojan horses wear masks and steal data, while spyware hides itself and steals data. Malware is the new all-encompassing term, except for Warez. Malware aggravates or steals from us while Warez steals from developers.

Apr 4, 2014

Virus vs. Bacteria

Viruses and bacteria are very different and they can both be either beneficial or harmful. A virus is both living and non-living, and is incapable of reproducing on its own, while bacteria are complete, living organisms that can self-replicate. Bacteria are usually much larger, come in a wider variety of shapes, and serve in more beneficial roles than a virus.

Infections and illnesses can be viral or bacterial. We often hear the terms, and we might even have a vague idea of what they mean, but a complete understanding of the difference between the two can help you treat the illnesses they cause.

Viruses are tiny, microscopic things that exist in two different states. When they are floating in the air or lying on a table waiting for someone to come by and inhale them, they are non-living and inert. Once they are absorbed into a living host, they activate. A virus cannot replicate on its own, and requires a host cell to attach itself to in order to multiply. Some microbiologists classify viruses as microorganisms, while others don't because they are "nonliving" and describe viruses as microscopic infective agents.

After contacting a host cell, a virus will insert genetic material into the host and take over that host's functions. The infected cell continues to reproduce, but it reproduces more viral protein and genetic material instead of its usual products. It is this process that earns viruses the classification of "parasite".

However, a virus can also be useful, because a virus will naturally attach itself to a healthy living cell, a virus can be used as a delivery system when genetic material needs to be transferred to a human body. Injecting a virus with genetic material then releasing it into the body can result in the delivery and replication of cells. This type of gene therapy is still experimental, but showing progress. Some types of viruses can also target and destroy some types of bacteria, like E. coli.

Bacteria are tiny, living organisms that are not classified as either plant or animal. As such, they don’t rely on hosts in order to reproduce, and can exist, grow, and multiply outside of a living body. Few know that many bacteria not only coexist with us all the time, but help us do an array of useful things, like make vitamins, break down garbage, and maintain our atmosphere.

Bacteria consist of a single cell and have been found living in temperatures above the boiling point and in freezing cold. They consume everything from sugar and starch to sunlight, sulfur, and iron. There is a species of bacteria that can withstand blasts of radiation 1,000 times greater than would kill a human being. A gram of soil typically contains about 40 million bacterial cells. A milliliter of fresh water usually holds about one million bacterial cells.

A single bacterium contains more than a virus and can reproduce on its own. That means a cell wall, genetic material, and an appendage to propel itself. It’s different from plant and animal cells, however, as there’s no nucleus to contain the genetic material.

When magnified, a virus appears round. Bacteria can be a number of different shapes, including the ball-shaped, rod-shaped, and spiral. Within each general group of shape types, there is a wide variety that separates bacteria even further.

Because of their simplicity, a virus can be 10,000 times smaller than a bacterium. Examples of both can be found just about anywhere on Earth, in any environment.

Determining whether an illness is caused by bacteria or a virus determines how it is treated. Bacteria are vulnerable to antibiotics, while anti-viral agents are required to kill a virus, and vaccinations can help prevent them from infecting a body.

Oct 9, 2012

Flu Season

It is that time of year again when the flu bugs invade and many people get the flu or a cold. Most viruses last a week or less, while others last for weeks. There is no cure, due to the many varieties of viruses.

The name “common cold” came into use in the 1500s, because its symptoms seemed to appear in cold weather. Of course, we now know that a common cold is not limited to cold weather. It seems more prevalent, because people spend more time indoors in close proximity to each other and sharing the virus.

Good news, kissing reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, thereby lowering blood pressure and optimizing immune response. Also, kissing a person with a cold will not cause you to catch it. The quantity of virus on the lips and mouth are miniscule.

Zinc, echinacea, vitamin C, garlic, eucalyptus, honey, lemon, menthol, steam, hot toddies, alcohol, Zicam, chicken soup, and many other “cures” have been repeatedly tested and have been scientifically proven to not prevent or shorten the duration of a cold. At best they provide some physical relief.

Flu shots are designed to prevent the most common types of virus. Most are effective for only those types.

Antibiotics do not cure a cold as they work on bacteria and most colds are caused by virus. However, if it is bacterial, such as half of pneumonia strains, it does help. Bacterial pneumonia usually comes on suddenly and viral types take some time to develop.