|Confused about computer viruses?|
Myths have always been a part of human culture, and can be found in nearly every aspect of life, including the computer. One of the larger computer-based myths revolves around malware, more specifically the virus. Many users are familiar with the concept but have a tough time distinguishing between what is true and what isn’t. Are you one of them?
Here are five common myths about viruses that confuse people, and the truths associated with them. Before we delve deeper it would be a good idea to explain what a virus is.
A virus is a computer program that infects a computer and can generally copy itself and infect other computers. Most viruses aim to cause havoc by either deleting important files or rendering a computer inoperable. Most viruses have to be installed by the user, and usually come hidden as programs, browser plugins, etc.
You may hear the term malware used interchangeably with virus. Malware is short for malicious software and is more of an umbrella term that covers any software that aims to cause harm. A virus is simply a type of malware.
Myth 1: Error messages = virus
When you do see error messages, or your computer crashes while trying to run a program or open a file, you should scan for viruses, just to rule it out.
Myth 2: Computers can infect themselves
To minimize the chance of being infected you should steer clear of any adult oriented sites – they are often loaded with viruses, torrent sites, etc. A good rule of thumb is: If the site has illegal or ‘adult’ content, it likely has viruses that can and will infect your system if visited, or files downloaded from there.
Myth 3: Only PCs can get viruses
The truth of the matter is: All systems could be infected by a virus, it’s just that the vast majority of them are written to target Windows machines. This is because most computers run Windows. That being said, there is an increasing number of threats to OS X and Linux, as these systems are becoming more popular. If this trend keeps up, we will see an exponential rise in the number of viruses infecting these systems.
Myth 4: If I reinstall Windows and copy all my old files over, I’ll be ok
To be honest, wiping your hard drive and reinstalling Windows will normally get rid of any viruses. However, if the virus is in the files you backed up, your computer will be infected when you move the files back and open them. The key here is that if your system is infected, you need to scan the files and remove the virus before you put them back onto your system.
Myth 5: Firewalls protect networks from viruses
Where they could help is if a virus is sending data to a computer outside of your network. In theory, a firewall will pick up this traffic and alert you to it, or stop the flow of data outright. Some of the bigger viruses actually turn off the firewall, rendering your whole network open to malware attacks.
What can I do?
If you are worried about the security of your systems and network, call us today. Our team of security experts can work with you to provide a plan that will meet your needs.
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