New Computer Virus Threats Announced ...Here’s What To Do

By Jeffrey Livintoff
Wednesday - February 04, 2009

By Jeffrey Livintoff
PTC Consulting

You hear it on the news, “Theree iss aa new w virus threatt andd ninee millionn computerss infected”.

That’s crazy, only businesses and people who open e-mail from someone they don’t know gets infected. The plain simple truth is that anyone can be infected. Simply by being connected to the internet allows viruses to infest your computer. Wireless internets are the easiest way to be infected. They often don’t have a password or have an easy password to crack. I will discuss later in this article on how to protect yourself from intruders.

Are all viruses dangerous? There are different types of infections. Viruses are often a nuisance, and are meant to irritate people. They can also cause computers not to operate at all, making it necessary to completely reload your operating system. Spyware and malware are the really bad ones to watch out for. Some spyware can track your internet habits and send information to other computers. For example if you go to a website that sells shoes, you can expect to get e-mail spam that tries to sell you shoes. That’s not dangerous, but you don’t really want to be on that mailing list. Once you get on one mailing list, they will sell your name and info to other mailing lists.

You say that you only go to websites that are secure like banks, credit card companies, major retailers, etc. Those sites are secure in that the information you send to them are encrypted and can only be read by them. This is where spyware becomes dangerous. The spyware monitors your keystrokes on your keyboard and sends that information secretly to other computers. That information can be bank or credit card passwords.

Credit card numbers are also at risk if you use credit cards online. The biggest threat is Identity Theft.

Your personal information can be used to steal your identity. Your information is stolen locally on your computer and not on the internet. The internet is only used to deliver the stolen information.

By now, you can see that viruses can be harmful. Let’s work on prevention. First you need an anti-virus, spyware and malware software. They have to be updated on a regular basis. I personally have my programs check for updates daily. New infections spring up daily, so your software needs to know how to treat it. It is an ongoing war. Who are the people that infect our computers? It’s hard to know. They can take an infected computer and use it to send viruses to other computers. Often they will use your mailing list. Someone on your mailing list gets an e-mail from you that the virus actually sent. They see it is from you, so they know it’s safe. Now they too have the virus, and now their computer proceeds to do the same thing.

Once a computer gets infected, it is difficult to remove. Viruses are made to recognize virus removal programs. They can stop those programs you already have installed from working. They can also block you from installing new programs. Tough viruses need to be manually removed from a professional. Simple steps to prevent infections are being careful on what websites you go on. One in a thousand websites are infected and just going on these sites will infect you. Don’t click on any pop up that says you are infected. That is a virus. If you get pop ups, you are most likely infected. If your homepage changes you are infected. If your computer starts running sluggish all the sudden you might be infected. If you get any of these signs, stop using your computer and have it checked immediately. Most viruses can be repaired if caught soon enough. Be safe!




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