The Beginner’s Guide to 5 Common Computer Viruses





The Beginner’s Guide to 5 Common Computer Viruses


Viruses. They’re nothing more than bits of code at first glance, hidden within documents and website just like the ones we use daily. But when a virus begins to take effect, it can mean lost files, stolen sensitive data, and a complete breach of security for your system! Although you’ve probably been warned about viruses in the past, there’s a chance you’ve never been shown how one really works. To help with that, here are five of the most common virus types you might hear about during your time online.


File Infector Virus


If your computer warns you when you try opening files downloaded from the internet, file infectors are likely why. The most common virus type, file infectors are found in executable files you download to your computer. This kind of virus is actually rather harmless until you execute the file to which it’s attached. Once you do, however, this virus can completely overwrite files, entirely changing their purposes and allowing for malicious actions and further spread.


Polymorphic Virus 


A polymorphic virus is dangerous not just because of what it can do, but because of the many ways it can be done. Normally, when a virus executes, any antivirus software on your computer can detect the code the virus used, and use that information to find and neutralize the virus. Polymorphic viruses get around your antivirus software by using different code that can change over time, which makes them harder to pinpoint. Old methods of execution are encrypted, stopping antivirus programs from using them.


Browser Hijacker 


Have you ever found yourself looking at a website you had no intention of looking at, or using search engines you’ve never heard of? If so, there’s a small chance your internet browser of choice might be playing host to a browser hijacker. This particular virus type takes over specific functions of your browser, giving it control. Hijackers can be used to redirect you to sites you didn’t intend to go to, alter your search and home page preferences, and more. These viruses can even be used to install key loggers, which record the keystrokes taken by your keyboard! A key logger can record your passwords and private, personal information; all of which can be passed on to the virus’s creator.


Web Scripting Virus


When most people think “computer virus,” there’s a good chance this particular kind is what they’re thinking of. Web scripting viruses are the classic “I went to a dangerous website and now bad things are happening” virus. It works by taking advantage of the code websites use to enhance your browsing experience with videos, animations and effects. This code can be exploited to let a virus infect other programs on your computer, or to control certain functions of your computer.


Macro Virus


A “macro” is a small program that can be embedded in documents like emails or text files. They contain instructions on how programs should behave or what they should run when opened. These can be incredibly useful for simplifying long, tedious tasks, but they’re also the perfect hosts for troublesome viruses. If a virus is written and disguised as a macro, it can force your computer to take actions you never intended it to take. Regrettably, the wide amount of helpful actions macros can take gives viruses an equally wide range of access to your computer, so avoiding them is a matter of being careful what you download and open.


If your system’s been hit with a virus, CJ Computer Services are here to help. We specialize in Wake Forest computer repair, and we can help you identify and remove the virus, malware or spyware that’s been bugging you. Contact us today!


Computer Privacy In The Surveillance Age

Computer Privacy is at the forefronts of everyone’s mind in the electronic age we live in.


 Computer Privacy in the Surveillance Age

Information security is all over the news these days. We normal computer-using mortals are probably not being surveilled by the government or organized criminals any more than we ever have been, but there is a much greater awareness of the vulnerabilities after recent disclosures by people like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Most computer users now realize how very vulnerable they really are to surveillance. The fact is, if you are engaged in crimes or espionage – or if you are a high net-worth individual – then the kind of people who will be coming after you are the well-funded types with plenty of expertise. In those cases, it is probably just a matter of time and effort required to crack whatever security measures you employ. But if you are just a “regular Joe or Jane,” hoping to surf the Internet and look at funny cat GIFs in relative privacy, then there are a couple of basic things you can do to protect yourself.


Be Careful What you Disclose

At its most basic, privacy simply requires a little foresight and discipline on your part. Sharing information about your life on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter has become so widespread that people barely think before they post some pretty intimate information. Remember – once you post something online, you never really know where it could end up. The other thing to keep in mind is that with ever-dropping data storage costs, anything you post online is likely now to stay online practically forever. Do not post your home address, information about your finances and accounts, or naughty pictures of you and your friends up to no good. Think twice about posting controversial opinions, political or otherwise. Avoid heated arguments online. If you use basic common sense and avoid posting when angry, intoxicated or otherwise not thinking clearly, then you will eliminate 90% of your online privacy exposure right off the bat.


Be Careful About the Files you Open

The Internet today is teeming with Trojan horses that carry malware and viruses. Many times an email from your best friend is not what it seems! A Trojan horse is a file that conceals a harmful bit of software that can allows others to spy on you. If your friend or family member carelessly clicks on an executable email attachment, they can unwittingly download a virus or some malware that propagates itself by sending emails (for example, to you) that also include the Trojan horse. The malevolent software you might be downloading when you click on an executable file could be a keystroke logger that records everything you type on your keyboard and sends it to online scammers. In this way, they can get your passwords and account numbers. Be cautious and do not click on email attachments unless you know they are what they purport to be. The emails with these sorts of malevolent attachments are usually badly written and very brief. Read carefully and slow down!


Want to learn more about computer security or even have a security audit of your computer to make sure everything is safe?  Contact us!