Talking about virus again this week. No matter how much we do, viruses always appear to be around. Mish talks about how to hopefully block these things from getting on your computer and some of the more common ones.
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Viruses have evolved. Years ago, they used to be written by kids looking to get fame, however, nowadays, they are written for financial gain mostly by professionals. There is even an underground black market for information gleaned from viruses. Viruses now will troll your computer for personal information such as credit cards and other financial information. They will also use your computers “processing power” to infect other computers and send SPAM. Whereas before, you knew you had a virus because it “pops up” on your screen, now they run hidden. Lots of folks don’t even know they’re infected. Some of the indications that you are infected are random error messages, computer slowing down for no reason and computer crashing.
With that being said, you still need a good Anti-Virus program on your computer. In fact, we recommend an “upgrade” called Internet Security. Usually an Internet Security program will protect you from more than just viruses, but also worms, Trojans, malware, etc. They’re a little more money but well worth it.
On way an Anti-Virus program has involved is how it detects a virus. An AV program used to download a “definition” file, which is a file containing info on what type of virus to look for. Sort of like a police man having a picture of a suspect. This takes time to update on your computer, because the AV makers need to purposely infect a computer, dissect the virus and hen figure out how to block it and remove it and then upload this new “definition” file to your computer. Nowadays, AV programs usually use a “heuristic” take on it. Sort of like a police man instead of having the photo graph, he is watching for suspicious activity. The AV programs monitor the computer and report back on any program that is acting strangely. Geeks at Work / Computer Tamers have recommendations on what to install on your computer to help protect you. Come by and see them at their store in the Southgate Plaza, next to WalMart in Boone!
Question of the Week
Josh from ASU writes in asking if he needs an Anti-Virus program on his Mac. YES! While viruses are less likely to infect your Mac, they are still out there. It’s not that the Mac is a more secure computer, it’s an ROI thing. A virus writer will want to write a virus to infect the most computers he/she can, so Windows it is! Mac are just as unsecure as Windows; it’s just that there are more Windows users out there.