Viruses and Malware
By Koden Tarvin on 9-22-2014
   
When it comes to viruses and malware, no computer is completely safe. Even with the best anti-virus, it is still very possible to get infected. An anti-virus is generally rated on its definitions,
resource usage and how easy it is to use. An anti-virus's definitions, in layman's terms, is a list of known viruses and malware and how to remove them. This means that if a virus gets into your system, and your anti-virus does not have it in its definitions, your anti-virus will not be able to remove it from your computer and in some cases, may not even be able to tell you if its in your computer at all!
So now we know that anti-viruses use definitions to find and remove viruses but you may be asking, "why not just write definitions for all the viruses in world?". Well now that's a very good suggestion, the only problem is that viruses can be very difficult to identify and cure. Just like in the real world, identifying a new disease is only the first step, after identification, scientists must then figure out a way to cure that disease, if its even possible to do so. Some computer viruses, can't even be cured, others can be cured but they leave corruption and other damage in your operating system. Another thing you might want to think about is that new viruses are being written every day. It can be very difficult to find and identify all the new viruses that are being written and infecting computer systems across the world. Generally, the most famous or most damaging viruses are having definitions written for them and the other minor viruses are being ignored until definition writers have the time to get to them.
 
Example of a notorious virus known as the FBI Virus
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Now that we have learned a little bit about how anti-viruses work, we can get to the main point of this article, "Why it is so important to remove viruses and malware from a computer system immediately". Most people may think that viruses are written for only one purpose, to destroy a computer or make it unusable. But in fact, viruses are not usually written for this reason. Most Viruses exist to steal information or to make a computer system perform actions it wouldn't usually do, such as allowing an intruder access to a restricted network or o....................
Example of an anti-virus program "Bitdefender"
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deleting data. So if your computer were to be infected by a virus that was designed to steal credit card information from your computer, you probably wouldn't realize that your computer was even infected because the virus's goal is not to harm your computer, but to remain unnoticed so it can continue to steal information right under your nose! But viruses also have a sinister secondary purpose. Viruses are designed to replicate themselves onto new systems! That's right, that means if your computer is connected to a network and is infected, that virus will try to replicate itself onto the other computers connected to that network. Or in some cases, over the internet as well. The best way viruses do this is through e-mail. That's why you always hear people telling you not to open any suspicious e-mails from people you don't know.

For a list of some known viruses and malware you can visit
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Malware_by_type
If you've been following along, we learned that viruses exist to destroy computer systems, to steal information and to cause abnormal functions. We also learned that viruses if left unchecked, will continue to cause chaos and replicate themselves. So now you may be asking, "so how can I tell if my computer is infected?" Well just like biological viruses, computer viruses will cause its victims to have symptoms. These symptoms can sometimes be obvious and some not so obvious. The ..........................
Typical popup for infection attempt
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most obvious symptom of infection will be scamware and scareware. These are the most common type of infection and are designed to trick you into thinking you are already infected by saying things like "YOU ARE INFECTED! CLICK HERE TO REMOVE THE VIRUSES" and then once you click, you have just opened your computer up to a barrage of nasty viruses because it's nothing more than a scam. A good rule of thumb to remember, never download any type of virus removal program or malware cleaner program, 99.99% of the time these programs are just going to infect your computer even more and will probably slow down your computer dramatically. Programs like Stopzilla, Ad-aware, Regclean-Pro, PC Optimizer Pro, My CleanPC, PC Guard, System Cleaner, etc., the list goes on and on. All of these programs are designed for you to download unknowingly and install on your computer with the promise to clean away viruses and malware. If you have any of these programs on your computer, your computer is already infected unfortunately.

For a list of some of these programs you can visit the addresses below
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rogue_security_software
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Scareware


The second symptom we will be listing is "pop-ups". If you are getting a large amount of pop-ups on your computer, chances are you could be infected. Now just because you are getting pop-ups on your computer does not always mean you are infected. For instance, you may be visiting a site with a lot of pop-ups, and in this case, we would advise against visiting these sites. Pop-ups and ads on the internet are one in the same. All pop-ups that are not engaged by a website itself are going to be some type of advertisement. The bad news, whether you see an ad in a pop-up or on a website itself, you may already have been infected. The reason is because these ads are designed to run a script which contains a virus or malware the second they load. This means that YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO CLICK THE AD TO GET INFECTED. If you see the ad and you can read it, you may have just become infected. Most ads on websites have been put there by a third party, meaning the owner of the website has no control over the content of those ads. The people making the ads can put whatever they want in the ads, whether it be viruses, malware, etc.. All sites you visit with third party ads have the potential to infect you, whether you trust the site or not. Sites like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Myspace, etc.. All of these site have third party ads and are likely to infect your computer with those ads.

The third symptom on our list, "slow computer and excessive start-up programs". This symptom should be very obvious. When you turn on your computer, there is so much junk that it takes your computer 10 minutes just to boot up. Most of these programs will probably be the scamware and scareware we were mentioning earlier.

The last symptom we are going to leave you with is "lock out". This means that your computer may be partially or completely inaccessible. Viruses like the FBI Virus, install a startup program that runs with the intention to block your desktop, preventing you from using the computer. Other viruses can causes certain features in your operating system to malfunction. For example you try to open your task manager and nothing happens or you get a message saying you've been denied access.

Now that you some what know how to tell if a computer is infected, the last thing to do is to get the system cleared up. The only way to do that is to take the computer to a professional. Remember that some viruses can cause corruption and cleaning up a system may be impossible, at that point the only cure will be to have the hard drive wiped and the operating system reinstalled. Visit our services section for more information on services and rates.