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Virus « ZolexPC Blog About Us - Remote Computer Support & Help | Zolex PC
9Aug/10Off

Why Do People Create Computer Viruses and Malware?

This is a question I get asked very often when cleaning a computer for a customer.    An article from Technibble explains that there are primarily 5 reasons or categories that explain why people create computer viruses and malware.

  • To take control of a computer and use it for specific tasks
  • To generate money
  • To steal sensitive information (credit card numbers, passwords, personal details, data etc.)
  • To prove a point, to prove it can be done, to prove ones skill or for revenge purposes
  • To cripple a computer or network

Read the full article here:

http://www.technibble.com/why-do-people-create-computer-viruses/

Though this article is from 2007 it still holds true in today's world.     The reasons are the same and the infections are still there, albeit just in a differing variations.    While some of these reasons are less frequent such as crippling computers or networks, others such as those for financial gain or the stealing of sensitive information are on the rise.

There are some infections that use viruses to achieve multiple objectives.  For example you can have an infection that  tries to scam you out of your money to pay for Software to fix the infection.  When you purchase the software for this supposed Fix, you end up downloading another piece of malicious software.  This in turn could be used to spread it to other machines or steal sensitive information from your PC.   Infections like this are quite common these days.   It is important for the user who has contracted an infection to keep an eye on your Credit Cards for unauthorized charges as well as your bank account.   Remember that one infection usually open doors to other infections on your PC.

Viruses are not going away anytime soon.   There will always be people who create viruses for financial gain.    There will always be people who create viruses to test their skills against Microsoft's and Antivirus software's Security.     There will always be some people with malicious intent on destroying computers and their networks.  The truth is that there is always an incentive for people to create viruses and malware.  Whether it be financial or personal satisfaction or malicious in nature, there is an incentive to continue making new viruses and malware and for that reason, we will not be seeing the end of viruses and malware for a long long time.

Have any other reasons you think people create computer viruses and malware?   Feel free to leave a comment.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

28Jul/10Off

Twitter and Facebook Being Used By Scammers to Spread Infections

A recent article from TechCrunch mentions how Twitter is now being used by Scammers to lure potential victims to their scams.   Read the full article here:

http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/28/twitter-crime/

Most people already are familiar with Facebook and the infections that can be spread through it.  Just yesterday I worked on a customer's PC with the Koobface Worm. In addition to it the machine was heavily infected.  Scammers and Virus makers realize how much Facebook and Twitter are being used everyday by people.  Twitter and Facebook are excellent places to trick people into clicking on a bogus links and infecting machines.    The value in using these tools as that so many people are using them that the Scammers are bound to catch some people.  Facebook recently announced they had over 500 million users.   That is quite a tasty morsel to a Scammer or Virus maker.   Even if the success rate is only 1% out of 500 million, that is 5 million more machines to spread the infection to others.

Twitter has almost 100 million users now.  1% of that is still 1 million.  You can easily see why Facebook and Twitter are going to be used in this fashion by Scammers and Virus makers.  Many businesses and companies are on Facebook and Twitter for legitimate reasons.   They want to reach more customers, engage with the community and spread the word about their products or services.  The Scammers and Virus Creators are doing the same thing, trying to spread their infections and scam more people out of their hard earned money by reaching out to as many people as possible.  You can bet if a new Social Media Idea comes along, and grows in popularity like Facebook or Twitter has, that it too will become a target for Scammers and Virus Makers as well.

If you are one of the 500 million users of Facebook or one of the 100 million users of Twitter, you need to be extra careful with clicking on links you are not sure of.  If it looks suspicious don't click it.   With Twitter and it's short links you need to be sure of the source when following a link.  Check the user to see if they have any followers?  Do they Follow anybody?  How many Tweets do they have?  Again if it doesn't appear legit, don't click.

Twitter and Facebook are immensely popular and probably will be around for at least the next few years.    Scammers and Virus makers know this and will use it to their advantage.  As a user of these Social Media tools you just need to use your wits and be suspicious.  If you do get an infection, remove it as quickly as possible with your Security Software or have a professional do it for you.

Thanks for reading and comments are always welcome.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

19Apr/10Off

The Dreaded Looping of Windows

The Looping of Windows or Boot-Looping as it is sometimes called is a problem that can be related to a variety of issues.    It could be new hardware, a virus or other infection, a corrupted boot file, a bad sector on the hard drive itself.    Fixing the problem is sometimes very easy or could require a Repair or Full Install of the Operating System  (XP, Vista, Windows 7).

The first thing you should do is try to figure out what is causing the problem.   Were you infected with a virus before it happened?   Did you recently add a new piece of hardware such as a camera or other device to the PC?     Has your Hard Drive been making strange sounds?   Have you been getting any other strange or weird messages recently.   Your answers to these questions should help you diagnose the problem.

The first easy fixes to try are booting the machine into Safe Mode or Last Known Good Configuration.    To get to these options, Press the F8 key repeatedly when you first turn on the PC.  You have to be quick as you only get about 7-10 seconds at the most to do it.   When it works it will take you to a different menu called Windows Advanced Start Up Options.  (terminology will be different depending on your OS).  From this menu use the Arrow Keys on your keyboard to highlight Safe mode or Last known Good Config.     If the machine boots into Safe Mode but not normal mode, it could be the sign of an infection present.  It could also mean something that is causing the loop doesn't run in Safe Mode.  Safe mode runs a bare bones version of Windows, with minimal drivers.    If Last known Good Config works and you can get into Windows, you should immediately scan your machines for infections or errors.  Run  your Security Software and run a Chkdsk on Windows itself.    If your system continues to loop, you can check the easy fixes off of your list and move on to the more involved fixes.

The following fixes listed are probably for more technical savvy users as the average home user may find this a bit difficult to follow.   If you are not sure what you are doing after the easy fixes, Do Not Attempt these other fixes unless you are sure you know what you are doing.   This is something you don't want to try to do unless you are very confident in your skills.   Vista and Windows 7 have additional Repair features that are accessible on this screen as well.   Once you choose them, read very carefully or you could restore your system to the Factory Defaults wiping out everything.   Within the Repair features, there should a line for Start up Repair.   This is what you would want to try for Vista or Windows 7.      There are additional Options to run commands in Vista and Windows 7 via a Command Prompt.    Going into Command Prompt on Vista and Windows 7 , you want to run a ChkDsk on Windows, this can scan your system for errors that could be preventing Windows from starting normally.    Chkdsk /?  will give you additional options to use.    You will most likely use Chkdsk /f or Chkdsk /r (includes f).

For Windows XP users, you need to access Recovery Console via a Windows CD or have previously installed or downloaded it.    If you have the CD, insert the CD into your looping system and reboot it via the CD.  Some machines may need to be told to boot from a CD, so you may have to go into your Boot menu to change it.     When prompted choose to use Recovery Console to Repair your Computer.  Be very careful when making decisions in these screens.   Recovery Console will boot into a Command prompt style environment from which you can run commands such as Chkdsk /P.     If these additional fixes still fail to boot the machine properly, then you can try a few additional steps.

You can try to Restore the System to an earlier date by using System Restore.   You may lose some data from your last Restore point but it may fix the problem for you.   You may have to do a Repair install on Windows.   This will save your data but replace all of your Windows system files.    Some infections will target the Boot file or WinLogon file for Windows and modify it.  If you can access or replace these files via  a Command prompt, that may also get the system to boot normally.     Again these later fixes are not recommended for the average user.  If you are unsure of yourself then do not try to fix it as you could potentially wipe out everything on your PC.  There are some issues that are best left to the professionals.

Try the easy fixes first, Safe Mode, Last Known Good Configuration, or System Restore.    If those don't work for you it is probably best to contact a professional unless you are tech savvy enough.    Looping of Windows is a scary issue as there are multiple causes and multiple cures but they don't always work and it depends on what is causing the problem.   If it is mechanical or hardware failure there isn't much you can do except to try and get as much data as possible on the Drive before it goes Kaput.    Have a good Backup of your PC is essential and can prevent even disasters like the Looping of Windows from becoming a Worst Case Scenario.

If your PC is looping and the easy fixes won't work you can always call on the Pros at ZolexPC to get your PC up and running again.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

13Apr/10Off

Rise of Fake Antivirus Programs Continues to Plague the Internet

Fake Antivirus software continues to infect more and more users everyday.   At ZolexPC we are seeing a large increase in a few specific ones that merit mentioning.    Antivirus 2010, Internet Security 2010,  Total PC Defender, and Fake Alert.   These viruses are all designed to mask themselves as legitimate software to clean your machine of infections.   The programs will run scans that are fake, and then prompt you for money to fix them.    There are variants of these programs and many more out there that are similar in scope.     Some of them even go so far as to put out new fake ones each year and name them accordingly.   For example, there is an Antivirus 2009, 2008, and of course Antivirus 2010.

Some people may accidentally click on links for these viruses while others just may see them all of sudden show up on their PC.   This is usually the result of going to an infected page on a website or an infected website in general.   You may also contract this virus from not keeping your existing Security Software and Windows updated.    Many programs will just surf the Internet searching for machines that are vulnerable to their infections.   Similar to a burglar who walks around a neighborhood checking for unlocked doors, sooner or later he will find an open door to break into.     These programs can wreak havoc on y0ur PC very quickly.

A common target of these programs is the ability to prevent executable programs from running.   This may prevent your Antivirus software from being able to run, or additional programs that will not work because the virus will block.     The infection does this to protect itself from being deleted.    You will usually get a message from the Fake Antivirus software telling you that the particular program you are trying to use is infected and cannot be run.   It will tell you that you should install and run their software, usually for a price.   If you do this, you will most likely further infect your PC with additional infections and the scam will continue.    These types of infections can almost make your PC inoperable.

If you are surfing the Internet and you get prompted or see a message from any program that is not your normal Security Software, you should immediately close your browser and run your Security Scans, with your Antivirus software or Antispyware scanners.     If you scanners will not run and the machine is infected you will need to call on the professionals to have them remove it for you.   The process can take some time to remove the infection and to make sure the PC is clean.     At ZolexPC we can remove these infections and get your PC back to a healthy state.      Keep your Security Software updated.  ZolexPC recommends updating your Security Software every two weeks.   Your Antivirus software will usually update by itself, but your other Security Software may not.   If you use Free Software, you usually are responsible for the updating of it.   The process is usually very quick,  but easy to forget to do.

Fake Antivirus programs and software will continue to plague us on the Internet but the more vigilant we are and the more we keep our Security Software up to date, the less it can harm us.  Be sure to keep your Security Software up to date and be suspicious of any program that you don't recognize.  If you do get infected with one of these, you can always count on ZolexPC to remove them for you.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

29Mar/10Off

Interesting Article on US Cities With Highest Risks for PC Infections and Scams

Today more than every, many businesses, shops, cafes, libraries and others all have Free Wi-Fi available for their patrons to use.    While a great convenience to many, this makes these cities likely targets for malicious software or scams.   As this study suggests, the targets are cities with relatively moderate incomes.   Nobody wants to scam somebody who doesn't have any money to begin with so why bother.    Cities that are more affluent are more likely to have a higher chance of success for a Paying Fake Anti-virus Software scam.   They have a wider pool of targets to hope for a bite.    Spamming email is one trick that seems to work.   People in these cities are more likely to do Online Shopping, or Online Banking.   They are up to date on the latest technological trends and tools.     The Cyber Criminals know this and use it to their advantage.

Read the entire article here.

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/03/22/cybercrime-small-town-problem

Cities and Businesses are going to continue this trend so what we must do as users or consumers is protect ourselves the best we can.   This means keeping your Security Software up to date and being very careful where you are surfing while on the Internet.   Watch out for oddities that don't usually happen.   These can be signs something may be amiss.    If you are suspicious, run your Security Software scans to ensure that you can take advantage of the technology and all it has to offer instead being a victim of it.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com


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