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The Internet is a powerful and useful tool, but you should not venture online without taking some basic precautions against malicious computer programs. Some of these programs include:
Viruses are harmful computer programs that can be transmitted in a number of ways. Although they have many differences, all are designed to spread themselves from one computer to another through the Internet and cause havoc. Most commonly, they are designed to give the criminals who create them some sort of access to those infected computers.
The terms "spyware" and "adware" apply to several different technologies. The two important things to know about them is:
Botnets are networks of computers infected by malware (malicious software) and controlled remotely by criminals. Botnets are usually used for financial gain or to launch attacks on websites or networks. If your computer is infected with botnet malware, it communicates and receives instructions about what it is supposed to do from "command and control" computers located anywhere around the globe. What your computer does depends on what the cybercriminals are trying to accomplish. Many botnets are designed to harvest data, such as passwords, social security numbers, credit card numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, and other personal information. The data is then used for nefarious purposes, such as identity theft, card fraud, spamming (sending junk email), website attacks, and malware distribution.