Viruses and malware are the scourge of modern computing. Malware is the generic term used to describe software that is designed to infect and damage your computer and comes in many forms some more damaging than others.
Malware, short for malicious software, is generally installed on your computer when you open an email attachment, download software from the internet, especially free software, or click on links on more dubious websites, or transfer data between computers on say USB flash drive.
Malware comes in many different forms such as :-
This general is not malicious in nature but puts adverts on you screen whenever you surf the internet.
Spyware on the other hand does not generally make itself known to the user but is designed to send information to the hacker about your system and what you are doing on your computer system. A typical example would be a key logger that sends everything you type on your computer to the hacker. Typically thry art after financial information such as bank account logon details etc.
One of the worst kinds of malware you can be infected with. Initially the user is unaware that the ransomware is on their computer, and the ransomware runs in the background encrypting the contents of typically all of your documents and photographs. When it has finished encrypting everything the user generally gets a message on their screen demanding money to be paid within say 72 hours or the documents and pictures will be irretrievable for ever. Since the encryption used is similar to what banks use for encrypting transactions it is unbreakable. Even of you pay the ransom there is no guarantee that the criminals would send you the unlock key or that the key would work. Typical ransom values are £150 – £300. We and the police would advise you NOT to pay the ransom. Cryptolocker and its many variants is one of the most common.
A computer worm is a program designed to replicate itself on to other devices on the network.
Trojans are a type of virus that the user generally instals without their knowledge when they are installing another generally free bit of software from the internet. You think you are getting a free video editor for instance, but unbeknown to you you after also downloaded and installed some malware of one description or another.
Viruses are generally designed to infect the operating system files and cause damage to the files on the computer, they are also designed to replicate themselves to other computers.
As with viruses that affect humans in the ‘real’ world, new viruses are coming out regularly and it takes time for the antivirus companies to develop the new ‘vaccine’.
We recommend that all Windows computers are protected by a good antivirus program.
At Meglans we recommend Bullguard Internet Security Suite which provides cover for 3 PCs for one year for £32.99. Ask in shop now.