A virus can get on your computer many ways, we will cover one of those ways right now.
When you browse the Internet the websites a website that you go to has been compromised and is spreading viruses. This could be through advertisements or the site has been hacked. When a hacker gains access to a site they put code on it that takes advantage of out of date versions of plugins. There has been many examples of this from small sites to a big commercial site like NBC's site.
Once the virus has spread to your computer it will either run right away or wait till you reboot your computer so it can infect your computer from the initial boot up. Once running the virus can do many things like lock up your computer, hold your files hostage, steal personal information, spread via your e-mail address, capture financial date, or many other things. They can cause you lots of headaches, lost productivity, and make you spend money to get them removed.
While software programmers never intentionally leave security holes in their software it does happen all the time. You have to think from their point of view to fully understand this. When you are authoring software it is very hard to think outside the box and realize how hackers will attack (programmers are starting to think about this more often . As soon as the company is aware of a security issues they get right on patching it. This came take anywhere from a few days to months depending on how much the company cares about security. These patches comes out as software updates as often as every week!
Right now there are a few pieces of software that are critical to keeping updated. Keep in mind that there are upwards of 50 programs that I check for when I do a virus removal or clean up.
- Adobe Flash
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Your web browser - it could be Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, etc...
The first 3 pieces of software are Internet plugins. Although they are essential to get the full experience they come with the downside of being a huge player in the market. So they tend to always be the targets.
The two biggest things to do to keep yourself protected are...
- If your computer pops up with an update from Java, Flash, or Acrobat Reader it is critical that you do it!
- Use Google Chrome to browse the internet.
Layer 2 Computers offers a great solution to make sure everything is up-to-date. I call it Check Up and the goal is to keep your computer virus free and running smooth. For $10/month/computer I will set up a piece of software to remotely monitor and keep tabs on all the software on your computer. As soon as an update is available I push it out to your computer. Essentially giving you the experience of a large corporate IT department for your home or small business! Contact us if interested!