January 21, 2011

True Myths About Computer Viruses

One of the main reasons viruses have become such a threat to today's computer systems is the fact that modern viruses are different in almost every way from what they were in the past. But most computer users are aware of these changes and their idea of enough protection against viruses, worms, and Trojan horses it is still less than what is necessary. Some myths have turned into real situations as time passed by.

1. They are not created by people who are idle:
                    People use to think that viruses are created by people who are trying to experiment their known programming languages, but when we look at their symptoms we can easily get clarified that they are created with some purpose, be it stealing personal information, bankruptcy and other reasons.

2. We can know when virus infects a computer: 
               Viruses are most dangerous and they can be detected by their symptoms like system crashes, application do not wok properly, system behaves in an unusual way etc. Even there are viruses that will send mails with dangerous links that will replicate the virus on the user's PC who clicks this link.

3. We need be careful when we back up the data:
                     Viruses have become more communicative, even when we back up the data with a virus on PC, it is not going to work, When we reinsert the back up disk it will again reinstall the OS with virus in it. We first need to remove the virus manually or we may need to format the hard disk completely and then reinstall OS which completely removes the virus. Since the symptoms of a virus infection may not be obvious, the files that were backed up last week, or even last month, could contain the virus as well.

4. We may need to worry even if an anti-virus has been installed:
                Just having an anti-virus will  not suffice the protection, we may need to update the anti-virus regularly as well as some rootkits will disable the self defense mechanism of an anti-virus that will stop the anti-virus from detecting a virus.

5. Viruses are transmitted through e-mail attachments:
              Viruses are activated as soon as an infected e-mail message is opened, not only when an attachment is opened those are called as Worms or Trojans.There are many other ways a modern virus can spread that include malicious links on Web sites, Chat or Instant Messenger sessions, or across a Local Area Network (LAN); some generate random IP addresses and attempt to infect any computer with a corresponding address. So never open a email attachment.

6. Only .exe files attack your computer :
There are more than 40 file types, or extensions, that may contain or spread a virus; some of the most common today are .com, .cpl, .eml, .exe, .pif, .reg, .scr, .vbs, and .zip.Viruses that spread via e-mail look for the target addresses in other files on the infected computer; they may be files with an extension of .doc, .eml, .mdb, .xls, or those associated with other common office applications or databases.

7. Use Preview Pane view your e-mail messages – The Preview Pane in Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express is a convenient feature, but it is also a major security weakness that has been exploited by numerous viruses.

Finally any operating system can get infected with a virus; Windows, Unix/Linux, Mac OS etc.


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