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Computer Viruses Facts and Myths

Computer Viruses Facts and Myths

Computer viruses can be devasting, they can cause a loss in personal data and a lot of money to disinfect the infected devices, in this post I am going to share with you some computer viruses facts and debunk some myths.

 

Computer viruses facts

I’m pretty sure that most people already know this, but there are computer viruses out there that can do damage to your body.

The name ‘computer virus’ is misleading; they come in many different forms – some damaging computers, some destroying files, and these days it’s not only the hackers who create them for their benefit. Internet deaths have become more common in Asia since 2005.

There have been cases of people dying after sitting in front of a computer for too long, without taking a break – internet addiction is becoming more widespread.

In 2009, South Korea’s capital Seoul passed a bylaw to prevent the use of mobile phones and iPods after 10 pm, except in emergencies.

In 2011, parents who let their children play on the internet past midnight were fined. In 2000, a woman in China died after playing an online game for 40 hours straight.

In 2005, another Chinese man died from exhaustion after playing games online for three days with only two hours of sleep.

In 1997, a Taiwanese teenager went into a coma and died after spending 19-hours straight in internet caf├ęs.

There have also been cases of teenagers dying after playing games continuously for days. In 2012 a South Korean couple let their three-month-old daughter starve to death while raising a virtual child online. They only fed the baby once every two weeks and would never wake her up or take her out of the room.

These are just a few examples of the danger of technology. Technology is something that we all depend on; it’s up to us how we use it and what we abuse it for.

One day people may die from watching tv, using phones, and listening to music like in Black Mirror (if you haven’t seen this amazing show, you definitely should – it’s a Netflix original series), but as far as I know, no one has died from this yet.

In terms of computer viruses, there are protected computers all over the world that have been infected by viruses multiple times and continue to work perfectly fine afterward.

Computer viruses usually do not kill people – however, they can be used as weapons or to damage property. Computer viruses are used by many criminals who want someone else to take the blame for their actions because it’s really difficult to trace them back.

These days, people use social engineering (where you imitate someone trustworthy to get valuable information like passwords) rather than computer viruses for security purposes.

There are several ways to prevent computer viruses – the most common is installing and updating anti-virus software and firewalls and there is also a way to remove viruses yourself if you’ve been infected.

If your computer gets infected, it might be possible for someone else to hack into your connected devices (like your smart TV) and use them to access your accounts (like your phone number or social media).

Computer viruses are no laughing matter; if you want to read more about computer security, I’d recommend reading the Four Hour Security Lesson by GCHQ.

Most common computer Viruses

Most common computer viruses include:

1. Conflicker

Conflicker is a worm spreading using the Microsoft Windows Server Message Block (SMB) network protocol.

It was first detected in March 2008 and has been classified as a high-risk threat both by the US Government’s CND Portal and the Symantec Global Threat Center.

2. Blaster/MSBLAST

Blaster is a computer worm that infects the Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 operating systems.

It propagates through network shares to execute itself on other vulnerable computers. This worm allows the W32.Blaster.

Worm to replicate without user action by exploiting a vulnerability in the Windows’ Local Procedure Call (LPC) interface.

3. Klez

Klez is a family of computer worms that infects Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express email address books to send themselves to other users in an infected machine’s contact list. Klez also propagates through network shares.

4. W32/Scob

W32/Scob is a family of computer worms that propagates via removable drives, network shares, and by exploiting several vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system to copy itself on the compromised machine.

It can download files from URLs received via IRC chat rooms. These files are also executed by the worm automatically.

5. Mydoom

Mydoom is a computer worm that propagates through email and network shares. It can send copies of itself to other users in an infected machine’s address book, forwarding itself to the addresses found there. This may result in multiple copies of itself being received at each address.

6. Bagle/Beagle

Bagle is a family of computer worms that infects Microsoft Windows operating systems, although variants exist for DOS, Linux, Sun Solaris, and Mac OS X.

The worm uses email as an attack vector to send itself to user contacts and often to random addresses. It also propagates through network shares, removable drives, and by exploiting vulnerabilities in the Windows operating system to automatically execute itself on an infected machine.

7. Netsky

Netsky is a computer worm that initially spreads by email, which often contains a link to download it from its home page.

It then spreads to all the contacts in the infected computer’s Outlook address book. Netsky also propagates through network shares on port 139 or 445 by sending itself to all users whose login scripts it can locate. This worm copies itself to removable drives when they are accessed.

8. Mytob/Mydoom.b/GTbot

Mytob is a family of computer worms that infects Microsoft Windows operating systems. It propagates using its SMTP engine to send itself to all e-mail addresses it can locate in the infected machine, often resulting in multiple copies of itself being received at each address. Mytob/Mydoom.b also spreads by copying itself to network shares.

9. Netsky

Netsky is a computer worm that initially spreads by email, which often contains a link to download it from its home page.

It then spreads to all the contacts in the infected computer’s Outlook address book. Netsky also propagates through network shares on port 139 or 445 by sending itself to all users whose login scripts it can locate. This worm copies itself to removable drives when they are accessed.

In conclusion, computer viruses exist, it’s good to protect them against malware using the best-updated anti-virus software.

Norton antivirus

20 c0mmom computer viruses myths

20 c0mmom computer viruses myths

1. Myth: There are no computer viruses anymore now that software is built with security in mind

Reality: well even if all programs were patched to handle win32 APIs securely, the biggest threat would still be the users themselves.

Viruses don’t have to come from a specific software you can get them from many different types of files, which means you can get a virus from anywhere such as USBs, internet downloads, and social media.

Also, even if all the programs you use are able to handle win32 APIs with no issues you’re still going to have a chance of getting a virus when downloading files from the Internet because not every creator uploads their software securely.

You also have to be careful when you post things on social media because viruses can come from there.

2. Myth: any piece of software is designed to create viruses

Reality: Windows is the platform for most computer viruses, however, this doesn’t mean that all programs are capable of creating them.

It’s true that some programmers are able to make viruses but it’s not something common. Most of the time viruses are unintentional side effects from a program that wasn’t created for this specific purpose.

20 c0mmom computer viruses myths

3. Myth: only low-quality programs get viruses, high quality ones do not

Reality: High-quality software has a higher chance of not getting a virus but there is still a small percentage that can get affected by viruses.

This is because the software itself has a higher chance of being free of errors, but there are still cases of program designers making programs with low-security standards that get affected by viruses.

4. Myth: if you’re running Windows you are safe from computer viruses

Reality: the majority of computers have Windows installed so this would be the easiest platform to target, however you can still get a virus from any other type of system such as Mac or even Linux.

5. Myth: you have to restart the computer when changing the BIOS settings

Reality: well it’s better if you do a reboot after making changes to the BIOS but it is not necessary. You may also want to configure your BIOS settings in order to be able to load it in your memory when booting.

6. Myth: computer viruses are the only threats you face when using a computer

Reality: well they’re not but it’s true that they pose many threats which are why anti-virus applications exist today. There are lots of things that can affect your computer, even things that are not related to viruses.

7. Myth: only the most advanced anti-virus software can protect you from threats

Reality: well there are many types of threats that an application has to be able to handle in order to protect you against everything.

Virus protection is just one of the many features expected from anti-virus applications. Other threats they have to protect you against are spam, identity theft, hackers, and even scams.

8. Myth: my computer is not connected to the Internet so I’m safe from attacks

Reality: well they can come through other ways such as USBs or directly via emails if someone manages to take over your computer by opening a backdoor.

It’s also possible for a hacker to take control of your computer even if it’s not connected to the Internet, all they have to do is enter your WiFi signal, and then that would be enough for them to use it as their own.

9. Myth: I can watch anything on YouTube without worrying about viruses

Reality: well it’s true that YouTube has lots of content but you shouldn’t watch anything on there. Some videos may be harmful which is why if you do go on the website, then you should only watch content that they allow (such as known channels like BBC or CNN).

20 c0mmom computer viruses myths

10. Myth: I can download any game from the Internet without worrying about viruses

Reality: well no program downloaded from the Internet is safe from viruses, even if they are games. Some of them may have hidden viruses that will only activate when you play the game which means it would be too late for you to realize there was a problem.

11. Myth: all USBs come with their own version of anti-virus software

Reality: not all USBs have anti-virus protection. If they do, then it may be a basic version which is enough to protect you from viruses on normal files but it’s possible for malware to infect USBs too so you would need something more advanced.

Usually what happens is that if the person in charge of deploying USBs decides to add in their own anti-virus protection then it would be better for you.

12. Myth: I can download pirated games and music for free off the Internet without worrying about viruses

Reality: Just like with all downloaded files, you should avoid pirated ones since there is a high chance they contain hidden viruses which you would unknowingly be installing.

13. Myth: I can install all sorts of applications from the Internet without worrying about viruses

Reality: it’s a myth that old or trusted apps cannot have viruses. Just because a program has been around for a long time doesn’t make it safe, in fact, they could even contain backdoors to your PC.

14. Myth: I can install any version of Windows without worrying about viruses

Reality: well there are lots of viruses that affect windows, regardless of the version you’re using. All it takes for a virus to enter your computer is for you to open an infected file or website and then it would be installed onto your machine even if your operating system is Windows 8.

15. Myth: I should always click on the “skip”, “ignore” or terms and conditions buttons when installing an application to avoid viruses

Reality: The Terms and Conditions are necessary for the installation process to run smoothly. By clicking on any of them, you’re ignoring a vital part of the application which means it would be installed incorrectly.

16. Myth: I can do whatever I please on my computer without worrying about viruses

Reality: just because you have an anti-virus application on your machine doesn’t mean you can do anything with it.

You should always be careful with what you download, install or open no matter how protected you think your machine is.

17. Myth: I can play any video or music downloaded from the Internet without worrying about viruses

Reality: It’s true that most videos and songs are safe from viruses but there are some exceptions.

For instance, it’s possible for a hacker to hide a file that would only activate once your favorite song has been played, which means it would be too late for you to realize there was a problem.

facts about computer virus

18. Myth: I can go on any website without worrying about viruses

Reality: It’s true that some websites are safe but they’re not all virus-proof. For instance, if someone is able to upload an infected file onto your favorite website then your computer might pick up the virus.

19. Myth: I can use software without worrying about viruses

Reality: it’s true that you would usually only get viruses through downloaded files but there are some exceptions.

For example, if you used to write your own programs and upload them onto the Internet then someone could reverse-engineer them which would allow them to add in a virus without you even realizing it.

20. Myth: I didn’t install the virus myself so I don’t have to worry about it

Reality: It doesn’t matter if you installed the application yourself or not because once it is on your PC, then that means the infection has already been activated. You would need to take your computer to a specialist for complete virus removal.

Final words

Those were computer viruses facts and also we managed to debunk 20 myths about computer viruses, which fact or myth caught your attention? let me know in the comment section below.

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