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Viruses « ZolexPC Blog About Us - Remote Computer Support & Help | Zolex PC
13Sep/10Off

Email Viruses, Worms and Spam

Spreading of Viruses, Worms, Malware and Spam through email is one of the most effective means of infecting a PC.    Since everybody uses email it has become one of the easiest and most common ways to contract an infection for your PC.    Anything can be sent via email, whether it be a Virus, Worm, Malware or just plain old Spam.     Any title can be given to an email to trick a user into opening an attachment with the email or opening the email itself.     For example, the Subject could read Must see Pics of Brittney Spears, or Really Funny Video.   If the email was sent to you from a friend who you trust, you would probably be inclined to watch it.     What you may not know is that your friends PC has been infected with any number of infections that reside on the internet.    Sometimes it may just be a link to a website that is sent to you.   Clicking on this link can infect your computer.    Your friend may not even know that their PC is infected.

Many of these Worms, Viruses etc. can send out Blanket Emails to all of your contacts in your address book.  This is similar to what can happen on Facebook if you contract particular infections.  They will send out messages from You to all of your Facebook friends thereby spreading the virus all across Facebook and the Internet.    This allows viruses and malware to spread very quickly over the internet.   With new infections coming out everyday, your Antivirus protection may not even be aware of the latest infections for a few days.    You should always be careful of any email with an attachment or link sent to you even from a friend.    If you are not sure about it, do not take the chance.  You can always ask them about the email to make sure.   As I mentioned earlier, many times people do not realize their PC's security has been compromised and my be completely unaware that they are sending out these bogus emails.

Here is a recent news article about an email scam that did a lot of damage.   It mentions a free Adult site, but instead gives you a nasty virus.  This was spread through email.  Read the article here:

http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/bizarre/12002207581227/site-promises-free-porn-delivers-virus/

This was so effective that it was actually able to infect many corporate networks.    The best way to protect yourself against these is do not click on the attachments or links within the email.    Viruses, Worms, and Malware will continue to be spread via email as it is extremely effective.

Spam is another topic associated with email.  While it is more of a nuisance and annoyance, it is designed with one thing in mind.  Getting you to click on something and purchase some fake product, medication, sexual enhancement and host of other things.    It is similar to junk mail but on a much larger scale.  Spam in heavy doses can take down a network due to the increased traffic coming into the Servers etc.   All email providers have some sort of Spam protection built in but there is plenty of Spam that still gets through.  Spam targets people's wallets and only requires a very small success rate to be profitable.  This why it will continue to be a problem for consumers.

A recent article from Spamfighter lists the United States as the biggest originator of Spam in the world.

http://www.spamfighter.com/News-15083-USA-Reported-As-Greatest-Originator-of-Spam.htm

While the US is the largest originator of Spam, China is largest country where this Spam is hosted.    With the hosting located in foreign countries, it makes it very difficult to crack down and prosecute Spammers.   The purpose of Spam is simply to trick the user into purchasing something.  It may also give out your email address to other Spam sites thereby increasing the amount of Spam you receive.    Spam is easily spread through email by Spam Bots.    A Spam Bot is a program (spider, bot, crawler) on the Internet that gathers e-mail addresses to send spam to. There are countless e-mail addresses on Web site "contact us" pages as well as on blogs and newsgroups. Since they are typically coded in the "mailto" format, which when clicked, causes the address to open an e-mail message window, they are easily located (see mailto:).

These Spam Bots do not sleep or take breaks and just work 24 hours a day sending out Spam to any email addresses it can find.    Be sure to empty your Spam folder and Junk folder on a regular basis.     Do not click on any of the Spam emails because you have no idea what could really be contained in it.  It could be a link to a virus, malware or a nasty worm.   When it comes to malicious software via email, play it safe and do not click on anything.  If you are suspicious do not click it.  Ask the sender about it.  If you do not know the sender, do not open it.  Just delete it and move on.   If it is legitimate then the sender can always resend it to you.

Email Viruses, Worms, Malware and Spam will continue to plague everyday users in an attempt to infect their PC's.  The best thing about these types of infections is they are pretty easy to stop and prevent.   Do not click on any attachments or links within the email.  If you are sure that it is from a legitimate source and the file is safe, then you are alright.   If you have any doubts at then do not take the chance.

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

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

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

26Jul/10Off

Do Not Wait to Get Your PC Fixed If It Is Infected

Recently I had a customer who came to us stating that their PC was infected and they were no longer able to connect to the Internet.   The PC had been infected for a month or so but they had waited to get rid of the infection.   The longer you wait to fix your PC when it is infected the more damage the infection can do to your PC.    There are many variants of Worms and Trojans that can eat/delete files on your PC over time.  Some files may be specifically targeted such as your Antivirus Software, or vital Windows System Files.  Others may be non-important files that you may not notice missing.    Viruses and other associated Malware come in all sorts of shapes and varieties.  They have the ability to modify, delete, and create files on your PC.   The more time they have on your system, the more havoc they can cause.

Similar to a Doctor fighting an infectious disease, the sooner you catch it and begin treating it, the better chances you have for a full recovery.  The same principle applies to your PC and you.   While this does not apply to every PC infection out there, it does apply to some.   Waiting a few days or weeks can be disastrous.  Imagine you have a nasty password stealer or key-logger installed on your system without your knowledge.  This type of infection allows the hacker/virus creator access to all of your passwords etc and every single keystroke on your PC.   If you do banking online or shopping online, then you have given the Hacker/Virus creator all of your personal information.     They could steal your Identity and use your Credit Cards or SS# to commit crimes etc.    Even if it just a regular run of the mill infection such as pop-ups or fake scans, your PC could still be giving out your email address to any and every scam artist out there.

New infections are released on an unsuspecting public every day.  With the sheer number of infections out there you can not give them a chance to reside on your system wreaking havoc along the way while waiting to fix it.  The longer you wait, the worse the damage, and the bigger risk you are taking by not addressing the problem.  Not every infection is going to fall into this criteria, but the ones that do are extremely dangerous.    When your PC gets infected, remove the infection as quickly as possible.  Do not do any online shopping or banking or personal stuff until the PC has been cleaned of any infections.    Many infections will allow you to keep your using your PC and surf the internet so they can get more information from and about you.  If you keep using your PC, surfing the Internet etc, you will most likely end up contracting another infection.  Many infections and viruses have friends and can open up doors for them to join the party on your PC.

If your Antivirus software or other tools can not remove the virus for you, then have a professional do it for you.    Of course I recommend ZolexPC for this.  :)    Whatever you decide to do, remove the infection(s) as quickly as possible to avoid even more damage than has already been done.    Treat your PC like yourself when you are sick.  When you have a cold or an infection, you take medicine for it.  When your PC is sick with a virus, removing the virus is the best medicine.

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

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

22Jul/10Off

Common Virus Terms and What They Mean

Many people are not familiar with all the different kinds of infections/viruses that are out there.   I recently came across an article that defines these Invaders so you can know what you are up against.  The more information you have about what type of infection(s) your PC has makes it easier to diagnose and hopefully remove .   Similar to a doctor who wants all available knowledge of the disease or illness he is fighting, the more knowledge you have about what you are up against, the better chance you have to kill it.

http://www.protectionpower.ca/defining-the-computer-invaders.shtml

Steve

www.zolexpc.com


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