Viruses are harmful programs which are often hidden among other data that cause a lot of damage to home and office computers. Effects of computer viruses range from slowing down the victim’s computer to corrupting system files. This is expensive and can be avoided.
Viruses are also known to damage the users boot sector creating problems when they boot the computer, steal important information and send it to other people, and change the computer’s power settings and blast the system entirely.
The most common technique used by computer virus writers is through executable packaging. They use this to hide malicious code and bypass antivirus protection by Norton or other antivirus software. Everyday, detect and extract software are being worked on with the effort of revealing home and office computers of these undesirable parasites.
Traditional signature antivirus software reveal hidden virus based on “known” signatures and give the user the possibility of either putting the affected code in quarantine, eliminating it entirely or simply leaving it alone (in case the virus reveals to be a false-positive), but it is unrealistic for an unknown virus or variants of existing ones. With the rapid advance of computer and communication technologies, computer virus programs are becoming increasingly sophisticated so that developing antivirus software is becoming increasingly expensive and time-consuming.
Viruses can be caught through various forms:
- by e-mail – disguised in a message from a known relative or a friend, viruses are unfortunately and often found in e-mail correspondence by ways of an individual trying to pass as someone the victim recognizes. This way the victim voluntarily executes said executable causing the virus to perform its malicious function;
- by downloadable content – disguised in a program or a desired application downloaded from the internet. It is common among internet pirates to download a program or application for free instead of purchasing the official product. Computer virus writers take notice of this fact and upload a bogus program or application containing malicious software under the guise of the product the pirate is looking for. This way the victim voluntarily executes said program or application causing the virus to perform its malicious function;
- by flash-drive or pen-drive – disguised in a flash-drive or pen-drive, viruses can be found in a hidden file, or if the victim’s computer is set to auto-start a flash-drive or pen-drive and activate as soon as it is inserted. This way the victim voluntarily executes said executable causing the virus to perform its malicious function.
Phishing is also another danger a computer user should be aware of and should be alerted as to how to avoid being a victim. Phishing is a form of online identity theft, which aims to obtain sensitive, important, and sometimes crucial information about the user and attempts to in time pass on as him/her. Information such as usernames and passwords are frequently stolen from users. It is imperative to issue phishing education to ensure that the internet can become a lawful and respectful environment.
Phishing often comes in two forms:
- unsolicited e-mail or spam – which are set aside automatically by e-mail managers through the use of word recognition by keyword association and/or black listed e-mail addresses previously assigned by vigilantes and other users;
- fraudulent web addresses – websites that are bogus attempt to trick the user into revealing sensitive, important, and sometimes crucial information about the user and attempts to in time pass on as him/her. Information such as usernames and passwords are frequently stolen from users.