Malware Cartoon

On the Internet, everyone's out to get you.

Well, OK, not everyone. But hackers are everywhere, they're organized, and they're happy to borrow your computer for nefarious deeds sometimes with no recognizable evidence to you, the user of said computer.

To make matters worse, these virus-spewing idiots have a whole swath of tactics they can use against you or the target of their choice. They can even use your Internet-connected computer to attack a website or network without your knowledge.

Take our quiz and find out how much you know about the tactics of the digital demons who want to eat up your bandwidth to do things you (hopefully) would never even consider.

A computer

virus is:

A. Anything that can infect, damage or hijack a PC, and generally make life difficult for its user.

B. A computer program that replicates itself when a host program or disk is run.

C. When so much dust accumulates in your computer's fans that they stop spinning.

Answer:

B. A virus is a computer program, malicious or not, that replicates itself when a host program or disk is run.

A computer worm is:

A. A self-replicating program that uses networks to move around without human aid.

B. A virtual slimy thingy that lives in virtual dirt in the online virtual world Second Life.

C. A benign program that spreads via floppy and optical disks and simply resides on the infected computer.

Answer:

A. A worm is self-replicating program that uses networks to move around without human aid.

A Trojan , in computing terms, is:

A. A game from the 1990's that doesn't run on Windows 7.

B. An e-mail attachment or Internet download that seems to be harmless, but which, if opened or run, secretly installs malicious software.

C. Something you're embarrassed to buy at the drugstore.

Answer:

B. A Trojan is an e-mail attachment or otherwise distributed program that seems to be beneficial, but which, if launched, secretly installs malicious software.

What, exactly, is malware?

A. Open-source programs whose roots go back to a genius named Yosef Mal, who unfortunately passed away in 2003.

B. Software you'd like to have, such as Photoshop, but which costs way too much money to justify without a career in the appropriate field.

C. Any kind of malicious software, including harmful viruses, Trojans and worms.

Answer:

C. Malware is any kind of malicious software, including most viruses, Trojans and worms.

What is phishing?

A. The art of obtaining personal information from victims, often with the goal of assuming their identities.

B. The government-mandated, national Nigerian pastime.

C. Searching the Internet for something relatively obscure that never shows up on the first page of Google, prompting you to change your search terms time and time again.

Answer:

A. Phishing is the art of obtaining personal information from victims, often with the goal of assuming their identities.

What does DDoS stand for?

A. A victory for wildlife lovers: When those "darned deer on steroids" fight back against hunters.

B. A "distributed denial of service" attack: One or more hackers activate secretly installed programs on thousands, if not millions, of Internet-connected "zombie" computers to overwhelm a website with junk data.

C. The latest version of Microsoft DOS, ignored by almost everybody. The extra "D" stands for Dynamic.

Answer:

B. "DDoS" stands for "distributed denial of service" attack, in which one or more hackers activate secretly installed programs on thousands, if not millions, of Internet-connected computers to send junk data to a target Web site.

Identity theft is a big problem today. What is the most common way identity thieves gather information?

A. Dumpster diving: Going through trash for legal papers, credit-card bills and other personal items that mail recipients didn't bother to shred.

B. Phishing.

C. Showing up at a mark's door, claiming to be a Hoover vacuum cleaner salesman, thus gaining entry.

Answer:

A. Dumpster diving is still the most common method of identity theft.

You should follow this important step to ensure your computer remains secure:

A. Buy a gun.

B. Move to a new home frequently, making it harder to track you.

C. Lock the door to your computer room when you're not in it.

Answer:

C. One step toward making sure your home computer remains secure is to lock the door to your computer room when you're not in it.

The 2010 CanSecWest security conference featured a contest in which hackers raced to defeat the latest version of an operating system. Which of these three OSes was breached first?

A. Windows

B. Linux

C. Mac OS X

Answer:

C. Mac OS X was the first of the three major personal-computer operating systems to fall in the CanSecWest 2010 "Pwn2Own" hacking contest.

The most common way to invite malware into your computer is by:

A. Inserting a floppy disk.

B. Opening attachments in e-mail messages from unfamiliar senders.

C. Writing your own malware and executing it on your computer.

Answer:

B. The most common way to infect your computer is to open attachments in e-mail messages from unfamiliar senders.

Now that you're a computer security expert, remember to tell your friends and family the basic rules of cybersecurity:

Install and run at least one brand of antivirus software (free or paid), and keep it constantly updated.

Never open an e-mail attachment you're not expecting, even from people you know contact them to make sure they sent it first.

Keep an eye on that "https" prefix in your Web browser's address bar. If it says "http," you're no longer on a secure connection.

On a Mac? Tough luck, big spender all these rules apply to you as well.

Think You Know Computer Viruses? Take Our Quiz