A Virus or Computer Virus is a self-replicating program or piece of script or code that make copies of itself and then either attaches itself to an existing file on the infected system or stores copies of itself on the system with innocuous sounding names like ‘System Tool’.
The virus is limited to spread itself only by either being transmitted or sent by an unwitting user or carried on a portable storage medium from one system to another.
However, if a virus gets embedded somewhere on a network drive then anyone who opens or clicks on the infected document or file can end up getting infected as well.
Spyware is software that gathers information about a users Internet habits, browsing patterns, email passwords, usernames and even credit card information, in essence, ‘spying’ on the hapless user. This type of software usually gets installed without the knowledge of the user and can transmit the collected data to a third party over the Internet secretly as well.
Symptoms of Infection:
- Very sluggish computer performance.
- Random system lockups or crashes.
- Browser redirection – you are taken to websites you were not searching for while browsing the Internet.
- Excessive number of popup windows appearing at random while surfing the Internet.
- You are informed that your system has ‘hundreds’ of active infections.
- You are redirected to a website that insists you pay for and download their specific software package to remove the infections.
There are many good anti-virus / anti-spyware products on the market designed to detect and remove these types of infections. McAfee and Kapersky are good but AVG and Avast! have similar products and offer a free downloadable version. Be sure to complete a ‘Full’ system scan and quarantine and remove all active infections. Configure your anti-virus software to perform ‘active’ scanning or real-time system monitoring.
- Do not install software you have downloaded from the Internet unless it has come from a known, reliable source.
- Use caution if using file sharing platforms such as LimeWire or torrent sites to download files.
- Do not open any email attachments from unknown sources.
- Use a good anti-virus/anti-spyware application and scan your system at least weekly.
- Be sure your anti-virus software is totally up to date with the latest virus definitions.
For Windows users: Be sure to visit the Microsoft update site and download all the latest Microsoft security patches. https://www.update.microsoft.com