Monday, May 20, 2013

Viruses are back.

There seems to be an arms race between the virus makers and the software companies that they exploit. Lately I have seen an uptick in calls to remove viruses in computers. The current most (un)popular virus is the AFP (Australian Federal Police) Virus which attempts to blackmail a user into paying them money otherwise they will be turned into the AFP for various imaginary sins.

Avoiding Viruses

1. The best tip for saving yourself from Viruses is avoidance. Get a good complete Anti-Virus product such as AVG Internet Security. Note that most anti-virus products have various levels of protection and the base level "anti-virus" will only pick up viruses that you have already installed. Use the equivalent of Internet Security for your product as this may warn you before the virus gets installed.

2. Don't click on links in emails. Legitimate business will send emails to you with your full name. Also be suspicious of emails from contacts that seem out of character. If you get an email from your accountant saying "Wow look at this" with a link then take care. You will find that their email account has been hacked and they picked up your address from their contacts. I've found that Yahoo is especially prone to this problem.

3. Keep software up to date. A lot of viruses lately have used security holes in common software such as Java.

4. Websites - Unfortunately here is it difficult to give advice. Legitimate websites especially ones belonging to small businesses get hacked all of the time. The bad guys inject virus installation code right into their web page. I clean up websites all the time and this has recently included the sites for a Veternarian and a second hand bookshop.
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