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Things to know about Netbook Viruses


Your notebook is as slow as molasses. Your mouse stops every 15 minutes, and that Microsoft Word program just won’t seem to open. You might have a malware.

Just what exactly is a malware? What type is in your notebook? How did it get there? How is it spreading and wreaking such chaos? And why could it be annoying with your notebook anyway?

Viruses are pieces of programming code that make duplicates of on their own, or replicate, inside your best netbook without requesting your explicit written permission to do so. Forget getting your permission down on paper. Viruses don’t make the effort to seek your permission at all and it’s very aggressive.

As compared, there are pieces of code that might duplicate inside your notebook, say anything your IT guy thinks you need. But the code scatters, perhaps throughout your office network, with your permission (or at least your IT guy’s consent). These types of replicating code are called agents, said Jimmy Kuo, a research associate with McAfee AVERT, a research arm of anti-virus software-maker McAfee Inc.

In this information, though, we’re not discussing about the good guys, or the agents. We’ll be discussing about the bad guys, the computer viruses.

A long, long time ago in notebook years, like five, most viruses were composed of a similar type. They accessed your notebook perhaps through an email attachment or a diskette (remember those?). Then they connected themselves to one of your files, say your Microsoft Word program.

When you opened your Microsoft Word program, the malware duplicated and attached itself to other files. These could be other random files on your hard drive, the files furthest away from your Microsoft Word program, or other files, relying on how the virus writer wanted the malware to respond.

This malware code can come with hundreds or thousands of commands. When it duplicate it inserts those commands, into the files it infects, said Carey Nachenberg, Chief Architect at Symantec Research Labs, an arm of anti-virus software-maker Symantec Corporation.

Because so many other variations of computer viruses exist now, the type just described is called a classic virus. Classic computer viruses still exist but they’re not quite as typical as they used to be. (Perhaps we could put classic computer viruses on the shelf with Hemingway and Dickens.)

These days, in the modern era, computer viruses are known to spread through vulnerabilities in web browsers, files shared over the net, emails themselves, and notebook computer networks. As much as internet browsers are related, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer takes most of the heat for spreading computer viruses because it’s used by more people for web surfing than any other browser.

However, “Any web browser potentially has vulnerabilities,” Nachenberg said. For example, let’s say you go to a site in IE you have every purpose to think is safe, Nachenberg said. But unfortunately it isn’t. It has malware code hidden in its background that IE isn’t securing you from. While you’re browsing at the website, the malware is installed onto your notebook, he said. That’s one way of catching a horrible malware.

During the past two years, another typical way to catch a malware has been through downloads notebook users share with one another, mostly on songs sharing websites, Kuo said. On Limewire or Kazaa, for example, teens or other music enthusiasts might imagine they’re saving that latest Justin Timberlake song, when in reality they’re saving a malware directly into their netbooks under 100 dollars. It’s easy for a malware writer to put a download with a malware on one of these sites because everyone’s sharing with everyone else anyway.

So to avoid having a virus in your notebook, make sure you install an anti virus to secure your notebook.

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