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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.

Symptoms of a Rootkit


A Rootkit may be composed of one program or a combination of malicious programs that are designed to take control of your computer. Basically, a rootkit will allow hackers or outside attackers have root access to an infected computer. They can virtually act as an administrator and have access to your system without your permission.

Rootkits were originally legitimate programs that gave a user or administrator control to fix issues on an unresponsive computer. Nowadays, hackers have used this type of technology for malicious purposes at the expense of computer users, who often times are unaware that they’ve been infected with a rootkit.


20th Century's Most Dangerous Infections

Viruses saw light and managed to cause serious damages to unprepared users and their machines. Millions of users downloaded computer viruses without even knowing about it. Hackers used various ways of penetrating the systems of universities from around the world, even NASA, armed Forces and Government Sites.It shows the increased level of mastery in writing virus programs, malware or hacking methods.

The virus was named Jerusalem because it was identified in a Hebrew university. For the first time it was discovered in 1987 on October 1, but in 1991 antivirus experts found that Italy is the country where the first traces of the computer virus were noticed. Initially the Jerusalem virus included a bug that led to a repeat infection of the files that continued until the size of the files overcome computer resources. In addition, each Friday 13 it deleted all programs in the infected system as a result of a malicious payload that set off on the respective day. Jerusalem considerably slowed down the machine. A person could identify the virus but noticing two lines on the monitor.


Morris or  Internet Worm:
We wrote about this computer worm, which is believed to be one of the first worms that spread over the Internet. The name of the virus comes from its developer Robert Tappan Morris, who was a student at Cornell University. The computer worm was set off on November 2, 1988 and after some time it managed to infect 6,000 to 9,000 machines. It overloaded the whole Internet, leading to the failure of a large number of servers. According to its developer, the goal was to discover just how far and fast a computer worm can spread all over the network. Robert Tappan Morris was found guilty and sentenced to 3 years of probation along with 400 hours of community service. In addition, he had to pay a $10,000 fine.

CIH or Chernobyl:

CIH virus that caused an estimated damage of $20 to $80 million around the globe, the computer virus managed to affect huge amounts of data stored on computers. Later it was discovered that the computer virus was launched in Taiwan. It has been recognized to be one of the most dangerous computer viruses in history that has infected Windows 95, 98, and ME executable files. In addition, CIH remained resident in the memory of the machine, being able to carry on infecting other executables. After being activated, the virus overwrote data on the HDD of the infected PC, making the latter inoperable. CIH could also overwrite the BIOS of the infected computer, thus preventing boot-up. The second name of the virus - Chernobyl - was given because some of the biggest damages occurred on the day when the nuclear reactor exploded.

Solar Sunrise :
It is the name of the situation that occurred in 1998 when a team of hackers managed to take control of more than 500 computer system of the army, government as well as private sector of the United States. The name Solar Sunrise comes after the well-known vulnerabilities in machines that run on the Sun Solaris OS. At first the attack was believed to have been organized by hackers from Iraq, but later it was discovered that the ones to blame were two American youngsters from California.

Barrotes - 1993:
This is believed to be the first popular computer virus developed in Spain. As soon as it infected the system, it would remain there until January the 5th, when it would set off showing a series of bars on the screen. It infected .COM, .EXE and overlay files. The Barrotes computer virus represents a resident virus - it becomes a resident of the computer memory each time the machine starts up. Due to a series of vertical lines that appear on the monitor, it was easy to identify the virus. It could also overwrite the Master Boot Record of the HDD, thus making it impossible for the uses to access the hard disk.

There are many more viruses that are dangerous and damages the system very badly. We need to get a good anti-virus that has good search engine and which updates regularly and protects our computer.

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