Thousands of computer systems are compromised each day… hacked, hijacked or infected. Whatever you want to call it, the generic expression “Uh-oh… I have a virus!” is not uncommon. While the way in which a person or business is infected may vary, the results are very often the same.
Some may lose access to data – if they haven’t had it wiped out completely – some may be locked out their own systems, while others might send spam to their friends, or have their personal details stolen or logged.
A compound result of any of these actions can be lost time, productivity, cash, or even reputation. It’s for all these reasons why endpoint security has become such a necessity; particularly in the mobile and internet age, where ‘always-on’ internet connections make people vulnerable anywhere, at any time.
Popular Types of Computer Virus
The delivery of viruses, trojans or malware, however, happens in only a dozen or so ways. These are a few of the most popular.
- Email attachments: Virus-makers aren’t stupid people. They know that we trust our friends and contacts, so if you were to receive an email from your dad or work colleague saying “Check out my holiday pics!”, you might be inclined to download the file. Many times (particularly in the past) though, the attachment would be an executable file (.exe) which could install viruses into your computer. Thankfully most people have wised-up to this practice and don’t trust – let alone even open – files from others sent by email.
- Phishing sites: What’s more popular now is phishing schemes; so called because they try to ‘fish’ for information from you. Malicious attackers again, rely on your sense of wanting to do the right thing, by entering your username and password into a supposed banking site when asked by email, for example – only to find that it was a scam all along. This one is a particular worry for businesses who could risk losing commercially sensitive data, should an employee give away their access details to a rogue website. This is also how people lose access to their accounts, as they’re no longer in control.
- Rogue sites: There are potentially millions of sites out there which don’t need work as hard as phishing ones in order to compromise your security. If you’re internet settings aren’t adequate enough, some will place dangerous tracking and installation files on your computer merely by you visiting. Quite often you’ll again, be directed to these sites by promises of rare, copyright or controversial content. Some sites like this are likely to bombard your computer with pop-ups which is an annoyance at best. Some of these might even try to convince you that your security is out of date, prompting you do download a file which in turn is likely to be a virus itself.