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March 2019

What is a virus and a malware?

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Regardless of what you call it, most people know you don’t want either a malware or a virus hanging around. Then why is it important to understand the difference between the two? One simple reason is you can protect yourself from a virus and notbe protected from a malware. Why? Because all viruses are malwares, but not all malwares are viruses. Allow me to explain.

Spider

Thank you Jason for the idea of drawing a correlation to spiders, the undesirable things most people don’t want around. For some, including my wife, the simple sight of a spider elicits screams of terror and that’s not an exaggeration. Generally speaking, spiders are unwanted, are around before you see them, their bite can cause irritation, and they can become an annoyance.

Malware

Malware, short for malicious software, is similar to a spider as it is generally unwanted, normally around before you know it, can result in data theft, annoying pop-ups, locking up computer data and other irritations. Malware is created by cyber criminals with the intention of gaining access or causing damage to a computer or network, often while the victim remains oblivious to the fact there’s been a compromise. There are several types of malwares, just like there are several types of spiders. Some of the malwares include trojan horse, spyware, ransomware, wiper, worm, adware, botnet to name just a few. Each written to harm in different ways, take for example ransomware. When your computer or network becomes infected by this malware, all of your data is locked and inaccessible to you unless you pay a ransom.

Virus

Perhaps the most recognized of all malware is the virus given its popularity in decades past. A Daddy Long Legs is a type of spider and a virus is a type of malware.  A virus is written with the intention of altering the way your computer operates and it spreads across a computer network without the user’s involvement.

How to protect yourself?

There are best practices such as security awareness training to avoid phishing, a “is this software safe?” search before downloading a program or app, keeping your software up to date, using strong passwords, backup up your computer, and using a firewall. One of the most reliable ways to protect your data is through the use of antimalware and antivirus software. It is recommended you use both as antivirus software is about preventing files that contain viruses from being downloaded or opened. Antimalware on the other hand, is used to take malware out of an infected computer, should a virus somehow pass through an antivirus software check.

If you are interested in learning more about the software available, check out PC Magazine’s “The Best Malware Removal and Protection Software for 2019” at https://www.pcmag.com/roundup/354226/the-best-malware-removal-and-protection-tools.

Next up: What is a firewall?

Click here for our previous post, “What is XaaS?”

 

What is XaaS?

What is XaaS?

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Every industry has its terms and acronyms, information technology (IT) and telecommunications being no expectation. There is even a popular industry book “Newton’s Telecom Dictionary” now on its 31st edition with over 30,000 terms defined. The as-a-service (“aaS”) model, in the context of cloud computing, is a term that refers to a service(s) being made available over the Internet via the cloud. The “X” is a placeholder representing virtually anything and everything.

You can replace the X with just about any letter of the alphabet and you will likely find it is a service. I randomly picked the letter T which, as it turns out, is “testing”, who knew? The X can also represent services with more than one letter, such as: disaster recovery (DRaaS), business continuity (BCaaS), information technology (ITaaS), database (DBaaS), etc.

Perhaps the most popular “aaS” is SaaS, pronounced “sas” not S-A-A-S. Although the S can represent many services including search, security, and storage, it is more commonly recognized as Software-as-a-Service.This particular service has been made popular thanks to recognizable household services like Dropbox, LinkedIn, and Twitter and although debated Facebook. In business you hear names like: DocuSign, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Office 365, Zendesk, GoToMeeting, Workday, HubSpot & Intuit (QuickBooks, TurboTax, etc.) Beyond SaaS, some of the other common “aaS” include backup (BaaS), desktop (DaaS), infrastructure (IaaS), platform (PaaS), and unified communications (UCaaS).

The benefits of “aaS” are many including lower cost, speed of deployment, seamless upgrades, no infrastructure required and its accessibility from multiple devices (tablets, laptops, smartphones, etc.).

Next up: What is a virus and malware?

Click here for our previous post, “What is Mobile Device Management?”