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Virus Season 2018, both Human and Computer – What to do?

by Patrick Rardin in Technology

Virus season is upon us and apparently, in addition to the Flu, strepp and other virus, we need to be looking out for even more pervasive computer viruses as well. Not to worry, read on and together we can all make this a safer computing experience.

Viruses are constantly evolving and, at the same time, becoming extremely crafty at finding ways to get into your computer. They have to be more cunning in order for more alert computer users to get tricked. One of the most recent crazes are a collection of viruses that include the words “Track your package”, “Refund”, “Anti-Virus” or “Network Tools”, ironically, tricking you into thinking that 1) A shipper might be having trouble with a shipment to you 2) A bogus refund is due you, they don’t communicate this by email, 3) Your computer is infected with tons of viruses and 4) By the mere name of the software, that they are called by, you might be lulled into a false sense of security, and trust them.

Many of the virus links are bogus so do not trust them! They are a virus or an attempt to steal your identity! In many cases they will even do harm to your computer. They also attempt to trick you by claiming that for a fee they will install themselves permanently onto your computer and rid you of all your virus woes. Do not fall for this scam, all they do, when you pay them (into their offshore account where they cannot be traced or prosecuted for their unlawful practices) is send you something that disables their program until the payment time period expires and then the scary pop-ups begin anew.

***IMPORTANT OBSERVATION***

As best as I can tell many of these viruses are taking advantage of a little known issue that may occur while you are working on your computer. Have you ever tried multi-tasking on your computer and suddenly been surprised that instead of the typing you are doing in a document it is actually typing on a web address, or renaming an icon, perhaps? What happens, oftentimes, is this; let’s say you are web browsing, and have your browser minimized, you are now typing a document and watching more on the document than the screen, suddenly something pops up, which very well may be this virus, however you are not looking at the screen and something else happens and perhaps you just “accidentally”
installed the virus by inadvertently typing or clicking on the box popping up from the virus. To avoid this from happening try noticing your screen a little more often. Ironically, just as distracted driving can have unforeseen consequences so too can distracted computing.

Additionally, if you ever see something pop up on your screen rather than actually click on it (sometimes the entire box is not what it seems) right click on the corresponding box in your *taskbar and select the “Close” option.

A quick word about antivirus software, many times, after a virus infection, I am asked “Why didn’t my antivirus catch that? Antivirus software is a detection based software, they are only capable of detecting viruses that they know about. There are millions, perhaps even billions of virus threats out there which antivirus software is prepared to catch and eradicate, however, new viruses emerge at an inordinate rate and a virus that was created and launched this afternoon most likely is not yet in your antivirus’ capability of detecting and eliminating.

A combination of consistently updated antivirus software along with common “Alert” computing practices can really go a long way in minimizing your exposure to these threats. Closing pop-ups from the taskbar and not clicking on links you are unsure of in emails and instant messages can really help prevent infections not only from getting in to your system but spreading to others as well.

When in doubt, call us, here at Eagle Feather Enterprises. Oftentimes the sooner we get involved the less time and less costly the fix can be.

* The task bar, in Microsoft Windows, is the bar that spans the bottom of the screen and contains the “Start” button on the left side and the little active programs icons on the right. The task bar also includes the current time on the far right side and can hold “Quick Launch”, meaning single clicks to activate, shortcuts to programs directly to the right of the Start button.

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