What are spam, spyware, and viruses?

November 20, 2008 / Updated: November 20, 2008 / Lena Shore

Question

“I’m not sure what “spam” is.  Is it like spyware that you have to quarantine or a virus that you have to run the antivirus scan for?  Or is it just ads sort of stuff?”

Answer

Spam is unwanted email that is usually sent in bulk. It could contain a virus, spyware, an ad for viagra, or an offer from a fake dignitary with money to give away.

Spyware is computer software that is installed surreptitiously on a personal computer to intercept or take partial control over the user’s interaction with the computer, without the user’s informed consent. This can happen by clicking links while browsing the internet or clicking links in spam you receive in your mailbox.

Spyware “watches” what you are doing. Some spyware just wants to see your internet habits – probably so they can send you more spam. The dangerous kind can be “key logging”. This means they are recording what you type – like your login and passwords to your bank.

How do you protect yourself?

  1. Do some research and purchase some antivirus software for your computer.
  2. Get a program like 1Password to prevent keylogging. I love this program. It saves me TONS of time because it remembers my passwords.
  3. Don’t click links in spam.
  4. Don’t click links on shady websites.
  5. Don’t download things on the internet unless you know what you are downloading (see #4).
  6. If you are shopping to purchase a new computer, consider a Macintosh or something else built with Unix. There are no known virus’ for the Macintosh as of this writing. There are some exploits (usually with running Microsoft Products). It’s easier to infect a Window’s machine. I’ve been using Macintosh’s heavily since 1988 and I have only had two exploits and they were easily fixed by restarting the computer by holding the shift key. And that was before they started building the operating system with Unix (much more stable and harder to hack).

Question

“How can I view and save a document with facing pages in Acrobat?”

Answer

To view facing pages in Acrobat:

  1. Go to View
  2. Go to Page Display
  3. Select “Two Up”
To save it that way so someone else can see it that way:
  1. Go to File
  2. Go to Properties
  3. Review the settings and get it like you want.
  4. Save your document
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Lena Shore

Lena is a full-time freelancer and nerd that specializes in web development, graphic design, and illustration. She enjoys building things, learning new things, pursuing creative endeavors, and giving free advice.

2 Comments

  1. Lena on November 25, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    An exploit is taking advantage of an existing bug in a program. Microsoft has plenty to choose from.

    Wikipedia Definition: An exploit (from the same word in the French language, meaning “achievement”, or “accomplishment”) is a piece of software, a chunk of data, or sequence of commands that take advantage of a bug, glitch or vulnerability in order to cause unintended or unanticipated behavior to occur on computer software, hardware, or something electronic (usually computerized). This frequently includes such things as violently gaining control of a computer system or allowing privilege escalation or a denial of service attack.

    :dizzy:

  2. Scott on November 25, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    What do you mean by “exploits” in #6?

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