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Examples and Samples

Essay on Computer Viruses and Charles Babbage Biography

Part I

Computer Viruses Manual

Understanding computer virus

A computer virus is a term used to describe malware or basically, any computer program that has the potential of copying itself onto a computer without the intervention of other programs or users. Viruses include malware like adware and spyware, though this malware do not have reproductive ability (Amoroso 1999). A computer virus has a reproductive ability to regenerate itself and infect other computers or other applications within the same machine. A virus can spread rapidly over networks or insecure intranets. It can also be spread by removable medium like USB drive and CDs.

Computer viruses term implies all types of unintended programs that attach themselves to applications thus hindering their work. It refers to all types of malware including computer worms, Trojan horses, spyware, rootkits, and adware. These however are not viruses per se since they do not have reproductive ability (Peltier, 2000).

Malware is the general term however, that is used to describe all types of malicious code software that re designated to cause harm to computers and other applications. Malware therefore includes such objects like viruses, worms, spyware, phishing, adware, tracking cookies and rootkits.

Types of malware

Worms

Worms are nasty malware that are capable of self-replicating in the computer rapidly. It works by production of endless copies of itself that occupy much space in machines. It also takes up a lot of bandwidth in networks. The main disadvantage of worms is the ability to consume a lot of space and therefore slow down the computer or the network. They however do not corrupt data files in any way. The worst known examples of worms ever to be were the MyDoom and Morris.

How worms are acquired

Worms are acquired mostly by email attachments. At no time should one open an attachment without scanning it for possibilities of worms.

How to protect computer against worms

Activate the email scanner and in the antivirus used in the machine. Ensure moreover, that the antivirus used is updated and that its definition covers aspect such as detection and removal of worms

Spyware

Spywares can sometimes not be that much of a threat to computers. However, the same can cause the slow performance sometimes experience in computers. Spyware, just like the name shows, spies on the browser activities of your machine by monitoring key strokes on the keyboard. The disadvantage is that it can send your browser information to third parties, which can lead to changes happening on the homepage as well as pop-ups that are sometimes experienced on the web browsers. They can also cause redirection of web browsers.

How to acquire spyware

Computers can be infected with spyware through clicking on links that are associated to a particular site with spyware, through pop up links that appear on web browsers, which normally come as advertisements. There is also another third method in which spyware can affect computers without the use noticing it. This is through drive-by type download.

How to prevent infection of spyware

In order to curb infection of spyware, users must be vigilant and avoid clicking suspicious links. Pop-ups advertisement should be blocked from the web browsers or as such, users avoid clicking on the same. Finally, have an update and efficient antivirus installed on the system.

Adware

Adware has threat level of low to intermediate. They do not cause serious harm to computers actually. Adware refers to advertising display software that provides ads in the browser or site in a manner that is annoying to users. The adverts are mostly unexpected, unsolicited and automatically loaded. They cause browsers to display popup menus and windows. Some adware applications also track the browsing patterns of a user and use the data to determine the kind of pop up windows to send to a client

How are adware acquired

Through browsers by clicking on popup menus.

Controlling adware

Adware is easy to curb. Having the necessary antivirus that is well updated and is set effectively s the effective way to control hardware.

Types of viruses

Boot sector virus

This kind of virus that is found in the hard disk. It attaches itself to the first logic part of the hard disk and therefore is read first by the computer upon load up. These virus sometimes can sometime cause problems during boot up of a computer.

Macro virus

These kinds of virus use other applications programming to expand themselves by redistribution. They cause corruption to applications such as Microsoft Office and therefore destroy the document by these applications

Memory resident virus

These viruses reside in Random Access Memory of a computer. After the program that initiated them closes, the viruses stay in the memory causing problems to process management.

Root kit virus

This virus is undetectable in a computer. It works but attempting to give a third party control of the computer system. They are installed by Trojans and therefore distinguish themselves as system or program files.

Polymorphic viruses

Works like worm by replicating themselves and each time it does so change the digital signature associated with it. It is therefore hard to detect these viruses by use of less sophisticated software.

Logic Bombs/Time Bombs

These applications are programmed to be triggered at a specific time or by a specific action in the system. An example of such virus is one that can delete database entry when an employee is sacked.

Tips on how to prevent computer viruses

  • Have a reliable antivirus software installed in the system
  • Have anti-spyware and antimalware programs installed in the system
  • Avoid visiting suspicious websites. These can be known by alerts generated by antivirus
  • Scan all email attachment before opening them
  • Set up automatic virus scanning in the computer regularly
  • All downloads should be from trusted sites. Music and movie downloads can be a source of viruses.
  • Update all the software applications running on the system. This includes operating systems and other user applications. Update antivirus too.
  • Install firewalls in the computer. There are free source firewalls found in the internet. Install these firewalls.

Recommended anti-viruses and their prices

Use the following antivirus in order to solve the problems related to malware. It is important to note that an un-updated antivirus is useless in system protection. The list below offers choice of anti viruses that can be purchased and installed on the system easily.

Kaspersky antivirus

It is one of the best anti viruses in the market. It comes with all the needed requirements for protection of the server. Its main advantage is that it provides hourly updates therefore ensuring that one stays ahead of the possible virus attack. Kaspersky antivirus cost US$39.95 in online stores. One can also get a 30-day free trial period (Antivirus Price 2011)

Bit defender

Bit defender, though one of the best anti-viruses lacks the ability for email scanning. However, the antivirus offers P2P files sharing as well as registry startup protection. It also has hourly updates of the antivirus. Bit defender costs US$40.95 with a seven-day trial period (Antivirus Price, 2011).

Trend Macro

Trend Macros main function is protection against spyware and adware. It allows remote file lock that is important in safeguarding private files. However, unlike Bit Defender, it lacks P2P file sharing ability as well as Startup scanning. Trend Macro antivirus cost US$ 39.95 online. It also offers a 20% discount and a thirty-day free trial (Antivirus Price, 2011)

Norton Antivirus

Norton antivirus comes with an added ability to map wireless networks and safeguard Wi-Fi networks. It has no P2P support for file sharing as well as registry start up protection seen in Bit Defender. It comes also with daily updates for the same. Norton comes with a 5-day trial period and thereafter a one payment of USD 38.95 (Antivirus Price, 2011).

McAfee Antivirus

McAfee is one of the leading anti-viruses in the market (McAfee, 1994). It has the largest databases that offer better advantage in virus detection and scanning. McAfee is built in script stopper as well as Worm Stopper. It offers no support, however, for P2P sharing, instant messenger and start-up of registry (Antivirus Price, 2011).

Panda Antivirus

Panda antivirus has the advantage that it can scan the system 1/3 faster than other anti-viruses. It has an anti-phishing filter, which protects against phishing as well as anti-banking Trojans Engine. It also offers inbuilt personal firewall that improves computer security. Panda antivirus cost around 40.95 USD (Antivirus Price, 2011).

NOD32 Antivirus

It has advantages such as blocking any possibility of forwarding personal data to third parties. Its virus updates also come in small sizes unlike other anti-viruses like McAfee, which comes in enormous sizes. It also offers real-time email scanning to all emails send. The antivirus costs USD 39.99 plus a possibility of obtaining a trial of the same for thirty days without paying (Antivirus Price, 2011).

AVG antivirus

It is one of the oldest antivirus in the market therefore has seen improvement over time. It comes with two applications that are geared towards protection of spyware and rootkits, therefore offering possible security. At USD 43.95, one can obtain panda antivirus from their site or from online stores (Antivirus Price 2011).

Part Two

Charles Babbage Biography

Early life

Charles Babbage was born in London on 26th day of December of 1791. His parents were Benjamin andPlumleigh Babbage. Benjamin was a banking partner of the Bitton Estates’ Ptaeds. In the year 1808, his family moved to Rowdens house where the father became a warden of the nearby church of St.Michael (Anthony, 1989).

Charles was brought up in a rural setting from the time he was eight. Though his parents had the ability to send him to the best educational institution and receive the best education, he was however not due to the fact that he was suffering from a dangerous fever and it was felt that burdening him with education could be bad for his health. At some point Charles attended King Edward VI grammar school. However, due to his health he was forced to retreat to private teaching for some time. Later, Charles joined a 30-class academy, which had a good library. It was here that Babbage developed love for mathematics and classics. After leaving the academy, he had with him two tutors (Anthony, 1989).

In the year 1810, Charles joined Trinity College at Trinity where on arrival was disappointed by the level of Math programs offered. He and his colleagues decided therefore to form an analytical society (Anthony, 1989).

In 1814, Babbage married his wife at St. Michael’s Church in Teignmouth, Devon. With her, they had nine children though only three of them reached adulthood. He lost his wife, father and son in an 1827 tragedy (Anthony, 1989).

Charles’ work

By as early as 1812, Charles had started thinking of development of a machine that could be used to solve mathematical problems in order to reduce error rate, which were associated with calculation tables. His inspiration came from existing work done by W. Schickard, B.Pascal, and G. Leibniz (Trevor-Roper 1972).

Difference engine

In 1822, Babbage presented a model paper of a difference engine to the royal astronomical society, which led to him being granted a funding of 1500 pounds to construct the same (Correlli, 1986). Babbage therefore embarked on construction in the year 1823 after he had employed an assistant to oversee construction of the engine. He spent many hours and days visiting industries in order to understand how operations are run. By then Charles had converted one of his room in his house to be a workshop for the process. In 1832, he published a paper on economy of machinery and manufacture. This formed the basis of operations research done today.

Work came to a stop in the year 1827, after Babbage almost suffered a breakdown coupled with the loss of his immediate family members. He was advised to take a holiday, which he took, by going to Italy. It is here where he was named the Lucasian professor of mathematics. He returned to England in 1828 where he moved to Dorset Street and continued his work on the machine (Klibansky, 1939).

The difference engine was later abandoned in 1834 after many problems between Babbage assistant and the government. The government stopped funding and Babbage demanded that the treasury pay his assistant directly instead of him drawing money from the allocated amount. His assistant left him and refused to turn in designs of drawings and tools for the construction of the difference engine. The total amount that the unfinished project took was 29,000 pounds including six thousand pounds, which came from Babbage’s pocket.

Analytical engine

After the failure of the difference engine, he started to think of a more general machine that could solve many computations and not only difference sums. Between 1833 and 1842, Babbage tried to build analytical machine (Francis, 1952). The product was successful and a machine that was able to use its output as input was produced. It used punched cards to define inputs and the calculations to perform on them. It consisted of the mill and the store (George, 1955). In comparison to modern-day computers, the mill can be termed as the CPU while the store can be compared to main memory. The mill measured fifteen feet tall and six feet in diameter. The store on the other part stretched an enormous twenty-five feet.

Second difference engine

After the end of analytical engine in 1846, Babbage designed another difference engine. He was motivated by the enormous knowledge he had gained from the production of analytical engine. This time round, he improved the design of the engine only applying a third of the parts that he used in the initial engine. He however never built the engine instead, he designed the parts and made no attempt of improving the same (Wiener, 1981).

Accomplishments

  • He was awarded a gold medal by the Royal Astronomical society in 1824 for his invention of an engine that was able to calculate mathematical and astronomical tables.
  • He was a professor of mathematics at Cambridge from 1828 to 1839.
  • Babbage published in 1937 his ninth paper forwarding the thesis of God having omnipotence and divine legislations.
  • Charles Babbage also broke a cryptographic key known as Vigenere’s auto key cipher. His achievement in this field led to application of it in military campaigns
  • In 1838, he invented a machine that was…
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