Viruses, Trojans and Malware, oh my!

There are a lot of rumors about ransom-ware out there that many of you may not believe.  Something like it won’t happen to me.  Well, it is out there and it can happen, even to you.    There are many ways of distributing ransomware and other threats to your computer that you will not even see until it’s too late.  Ransomware is delivered through Viruses, Trojans, and Malware.  Yes, all of these are delivery methods.  The most common form of delivery is self-inflicted.  

Self-inflicted delivery is not new. You have probably seen it on websites and in your email (mostly as spam).  As an email, it is usually an attachment and can be opened by easily clicking on it.  On web pages, it is in the form of a click-through ad or article which by coincidence is also easily clickable.   When you click on this email or ad or whatever else is lurking out there you are inviting it to install itself and/or activate it.  This, unfortunately, bypasses the base defenses of most all anti-virus programs protecting you from just this sort of thing happening in the first place.

The unfortunate part is that because you load initiate the loading of the program your virus program does not do as thorough a job of checking out its validity.  This often causes the evil/insidious program to be able to install itself when it would normally be blocked.

I have found that the most common delivery is through email.   This is because with the right wording most people will open anything.  Don’t be most people!  Email can be spoofed to make it look like it came from someone or someplace you think you know.  The best rule here is if you are not expecting an attachment from an email you know, don’t open it even if it looks ok.   Treat ALL attachments like they will destroy your computer.  If necessary, email or call the person sending the attachment and ask if it’s legitimate.

With websites, you need to be cautious too.  Don’t click on banners or other ads.  There are more and more every day that is coming up as malicious software installers.   If you are downloading something make sure you download the right object.  A lot of free software sites make it difficult to tell which button is the actual download button.  Try avoiding free stuff as much as possible.  And if you do download something run it through your virus program before you do anything.  This is usually as simple as right-clicking on the file and choosing the virus program from the pop-up menu.

Remember, only YOU can prevent cyber fires.