Computer Viruses, Ransomware, and Malware Are on the Rise. It’s Important to Protect Your Computer
When viral infections first began to spread, people did not know how to protect themselves or their families. One moment a person would be working on their computer and then the next, they would lose their entire life’s work. Without having easy access to information online as we have now, people could only hope for a cure. While we’re better protected now, the concerns have come back.
Over the past few years, the media have made waves about the sudden return of a few notable viruses and malware that were once considered nearly extinct. People have grown increasingly paranoid that these fatal computer codes that were once considered preventable to the point of near extinction are returning to wipe out even the computers with the best protection systems.
The simple answer is that there are people who do not trust the current cybersecurity software on the market to protect their computers. Due to these concerns, these people leave their computers vulnerable to the current malware and ransomware out there. As more and more computers remain unvaccinated, more attacks from newly developed computer viruses are happening. But we must also combat the viruses that were assumed to have been nearly eradicated.
Modernizations in technology have allowed computers to become more resistant to malware and viruses through software virus protectors. However, viruses have also become more advanced. Malware that once began as trolling pranks have evolved to become even worse with capabilities that could easily shut down entire countries.
Computer viruses are spreadable and can be fatal for your computer. Malwarebytes says, “it’s important to be proactive about cybersecurity and take some basic protective measures against computer viruses. Otherwise, computer viruses could make a comeback.”
Computer Viruses That Are Coming Back
According to Microsoft, computer viruses were once less than 5 percent of global malware. However, by the end of 2012, this number rose to 7.8 percent. Protecting your computer is a serious matter. You must protect your own computer, but you must also worry about all those unprotected computers and what kind of cyber diseases they carry. After all, how do you know what kind of malware a computer has when its owner sends you an email?
In reality, the reason these viruses had previously been near extinction is that people had their computers protected. There’s no government conspiracy for having security protections on your computer. Security companies are not trying to force their products on you to steal your information or destroy your hard drive – that is what computer viruses do. Here are a few examples of malware that has been brought back to life due to the increasing number of unprotected computers:
- SQL Slammer: Considered the computer security wake-up call, the SQL Slammer was one of the fastest spreading computer worms in history. Bank of America ATMs shut down across the U.S. as other countries experienced internet blackouts. Although there is much rich history regarding the SQL Slammer, the result of the worm made people more aware of the importance of security for their computer systems and servers. However, after years of silence, the SQL Slammer has returned due to a lack of security and continues to threaten the health of computers worldwide.
- The Klez Virus: Originally appearing in 2002, the Klez virus now has new versions that come through email, shared folders, and transferred files. It hosts harmful programs that could cause a person’s computer to become inoperable. Once the computer contracts the virus, the malicious software goes through the victim’s contacts and sends itself to others and even spoofs the email address. Thanks to modern security software, the Klez Virus has been mostly cleaned up, but it is the unprotected computers that allow this computer virus to continue spreading.
- MyDoom: One of the most damaging computer worms in history, MyDoom was launched in 2004 and caused several billion dollars in destruction. MyDoom spreads through an email attachment and sends itself to the infected computer’s contacts. However, the worm also had a botnet with the capability to control the computer into performing Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Despite the enhanced email security we have now, Palo Alto Networks found evidence of MyDoom continuing to infect computers today.
The best solution for this current epidemic is to make sure everyone takes proactive measures to protect their computers from these viruses. Many of the old viruses are still as dangerous and impactful as they were in the past, despite the advancement in our technology. Your computer was a big investment, so be sure to keep it healthy and protected to last for years to come.
Educate those who believe not installing a security system on their computer is better than installing one. Leaving your computer’s health up to the nature of the web will continue to cause these viruses to spread. Even those that are protected or are marketed as having an OS that is resistant to viruses should have a virus software. Encourage others to be proactive in protecting their computers by:
- Not opening or downloading suspicious files or links online or from an email
- Conducting regular virus scans
- Installing reputable security software
- Staying up to date with their computer’s security software
- Having the latest versions of your applications and browsers
- Always backing up your data
Don’t trust the myths that it’s better to let your computer fend for itself than to use reputable malware software. Prevent the spread of malware and vaccinate your computers before it’s too late.
Ashley Boudreaux is a Digital Analyst for Catapult Creative Media. She is an LSU graduate with a B.A. in Mass Communication and a minor in French. In her free time, she enjoys visiting petting zoos and climbing trees.
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