We are asked this question often. Your machine starts running a little slow, then slower and then you get false messages that you have a hard disk failure, or you are infected and need to purchase this anti virus software and they won’t let you do anything until you do. While it’s true you have a virus, their “anti-virus” is what actually infected you!
Or perhaps your machine will not even load the desktop anymore, and you have no idea how this happened. Even if you have anti-virus, this can still happen to you. The fact of the matter is, just as the anti-virus software business is huge, so is the virus industry. There are actually black market software groups that are developing virus creating tools for hackers. An entire “standard” virus library exists! Why re-invent the wheel right?
Who are these attackers anyways? Attackers are divided into several categories:
- Hackers-Individuals who just want to attack a computer system, either to expose security flaws, bragging rights or vandalize the system.
- Script Kiddies-Unskilled attackers who want to break computers but are not actually programmers, they use the above mentioned virus programs to create scripts to do the work for them. Incidentally if you ever saw the movie Swordfish, while Hugh Jackman was
suppose to be this advanced programmer, here is proof he was just a script kiddie:
- Spies-This person was specifically hired to break into a machine and steal information. The less attention drawn to the break in the better. These guys are pretty smart.
- Insiders-48% percent of information leakage in organizations is caused by someone in that organization. Disgruntled employees may load a virus on a machine or steal data.
- Cybercriminals-These are the guys that are making a lot of money. They steal identities, commit financial fraud, and are the people spamming you. They may infect your machine with a Trojan (example: a virus hidden in a free application you installed from the internet) and are collecting your passwords and account information to exploit. They even have investors to help fund them.
- Cyberterrorists-Ideologists that attack for the sake of their beliefs. They have brought down some heavy networks like, oh the Pentagon! They may infect your machine as well, just to turn it into a zombie. They can infect millions of individual computers with what is called a root kit virus, and use these machines to do things like send a bunch of signals to a network to overload it and bring it down. You may unknowingly be helping a cyberterrorist take down government sites.
These are the people that can ruin your day or cost you money. Common reasons people pick up viruses are:
- You installed free software
- You are hanging around some seedy areas of the internet (this can range from celebrity gossips sites to adult content)
- You visited a site that got hacked and infected you through the browser
To protect yourself from them you need a good firewall, regular anti-virus scans and a little discernment when browsing the internet. If you do get infected and your anti-virus cannot fix the issue. Then you need to give us call, as more advanced measures need to be taken.
There you have it, a little insight in the dark world of viruses. Browse safe out there and share the be sure to share this with your friends.