Computer Virus Threats

Virus & Hacker Threats Should You React?


Virus & Hacker Threats Should You React? by J.E. WalkerWe've all had it happen, that moment of panic when you wonder if your computer has a virus. In that situation, we can make the wrong decisions by deleting or installing files. If your system is set up properly and you back up files on a regular basis, there is no reason to panic.


Most of us have received an email "from a friend" warning us of impending doom. Sometimes the warning is real and sometimes it's not. Usually the email begins "I found this on my computer and I think I may have accidentally sent it to you. Better check your computer. I'm really sorry." The email finishes up with urging you to send this message to EVERYONE in your address book.


Hoaxes can actually make you the virus by getting you to delete needed programs or files causing the system to bog down or crash. These hoaxes usually arrive in the form of an e-mail and contain false virus warnings. When in doubt, check a list of known virus hoaxes. The best thing to do is to delete the email.


Some virus programs appear to have been sent by a friend or a company you have emailed before. Most come from unknown sources. Once opened they work by pulling names out of a computer's address book and using them to further spread the virus.


You can set your email to accept plain text only. Block or remove emails that contain file attachments. Some viruses are even programmed to instruct your pc to show you only the plain text but can still infect your computer with hidden malicious code.


Prevent Computer Virus Threats

Install Virus Protection Programs

Help prevent computer viruses by updating windows regularly and installing virus protection programs. Virus updates should be done at least once a week. Scheduled the task time to run automatically so that it won't interfere with your work. Set up your computer to automatically download updates, but install the updates manually.

If your system starts running very slowly for no reason, go online and get the system checked. A good scan of your entire operating system, memory, hard drive and boot sector is needed. Trend Micro has a free online virus scanner.

Anti-virus programs hunt for viruses and cleans attachments if possible. When a file can't be cleaned, the anti-virus program will isolate the file. The anti-virus program uses the definition list you download from the program's website, or it matches up a general pattern of what a virus looks like.

The schedule with which the anti-virus definitions are updated can vary, and you may get caught in that window of vulnerability between the virus appearing and it getting updated to the list. Warning: The viruses will get in if you don't keep your anti-virus program updated.

Software companies use patches to correct a problem or a weakness that people can take advantage of. Patching is a necessity and will be an on going method for computer systems weakness prevention.

The Internet is not always what you see. Scan all of your email attachments as you download them. This should be done with files you download directly from internet sites as well as music files, programs, e-books, games, etc. Be careful sharing files with others, such as MP3, videos, programs, pictures, etc. Downloadable data can contain malicious code that you download without knowing it, and will infect your computer.

Downloading the latest patch for your system can stop some of these viruses. You need to get the most recent protection that is out there. Get them directly from the company site. Please note that sometimes you could receive false notifications of necessary update patches in your email, urging you to download a patch immediately to protect your computer. Microsoft does not send update notices by email. These are almost always viruses

Trojan is a code that hides from you. Even banner ads can contain trojans. The banner ad displays another pop-up that would redirect you to another site and load the content on that page. This would allow the trojan to execute while you are distracted with the content of the page. Trojan programs do not seek out new computers to infect like a worm or virus.

A trojan has the ability to automatically infect a computer. The fact that no fix exists for it, makes the appearance of the trojan a problem. MooSoft developed The Cleaner for detecting and removing trojans in your computer.

People can help protect themselves against Active X issues by changing their IE internet security zone settings to prompt them before running Active X components. If your not familiar with changing security settings, visit PC Pitstop for a free scan to check for security vulnerabilities and automatically set your security controls.

Hackers use automated programs to break into systems and are used by virus writers who set out to damage or use a computer system. The use of a firewall will help prevent this. A firewall works by warning you when someone is trying to gain access to your computer. If someone gains access to your computer they can retrieve information that you have entered, such as passwords, bank accounts and credit card numbers. Zone Labs offers a free basic firewall.

A computer worm hasn't been created to spread by instant messaging, however it provides a target. Experts say a computer worm transmitted by using instant messaging programs would infect as many as 1,000,000 computers in less than a minute. New threats to your computer are created on a regular basis.

Keeping informed and using good judgment is always the very best prevention.


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