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California State University, Long Beach
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Understanding Computer Security

Computers are an increasingly important part of our lives. They now host our private conversations and emails, our credit card numbers and financial information. As a result, some individuals are trying to exploit the security of our computer to get this private data and use it to their own ends. To protect yourself it is helpful to understand the threats.

Viruses

Viruses

A computer virus is a program that has been designed to infect, destroy, modify, or cause other problems with a computer or software program.

Spyware

Spyware

A spyware program collects personal information about users without their consent. While no business would distribute a virus, many software companies have agreed to to bundle spyware from a different company with their free programs, to profit.

ID Theft

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a crime in which a thief finds information about a person such as their social security number, bank account number or credit card number. The thief then uses this information in various way to the detriment of their victim.