Computer hardware and software is evolving. So are computer viruses.
Today's computer viruses have become sophisticated beings (yes,
they're almost alive). Did you know that some viruses don't require
any action on your side in order to take full control over your
Yes, you don't really need to click on anything or accept any file.
You'll not be asked to approve anything - and until it's very late,
you'll not even be aware of your new companion. But when that dormant
Virus, which installed on your PC, triggers and start working on
your computer - that's too late. Want to know more?
Combined virus attacks are a relatively new term, describing viruses
that crawl into your computer in a few steps. First, the virus has
to get to your computer. That's very easy. Receive a malicious email
or browse a hostile web site. Not much action is required from your
side. Just opening an email (you don't have to activate any attachment)
or entering a site is enough. The virus puts a piece of dangerous
code on your computer, camouflaged as a harmless piece of information.
Since no virus is actually conveyed during this step, your favorite
AV software will probably take no action and report nothing.
The next few steps are more interesting. A very dangerous piece
of code resides in your hard disk, but is still dormant - it doesn't
run and doesn't cause any damage - yet...
Then, another, harmlessly looking site or email triggers the dormant
code. Again, your AV software doesn't really notice that because
the piece of code is already on your computer. The AV software would
usually just scan code that is downloaded and executed from the
Internet. It usually trusts code that's already on your computer.
Of course, it you have a firewall installed - that doesn't do you
any good against this attack. The application, which triggers the
virus is legitimate and has full rights to access the Internet.
Last but not least - the virus has to be executed on your computer.
This last step requires assistance from a giant - Microsoft. Writing
a web-browser is a complicated task. It involves work from thousands
of programmers. Such a complicated task is never flawless - and
some bugs remain here and there. Computer hackers recognize these
bugs and use them to make Microsoft's Internet Explorer to do things
it wasn't intended to do. Specifically, these bugs allow hackers
to wake up (or trigger) dormant virus code on your computer.
And then, your new visitor - the virus - can do whatever it feels
like doing. Having administrative privileges, the new owner of your
computer can have a look at your files, send them, change them -
but most popular of all - simply erase them.
What do I do?
There are a few things that you can do to protect from computer
viruses. The key to protecting your computer is in understanding
that no solution is perfect and that you should always trust your
common sense before anything else. Then, there are some technical
things that can be done:
- Get anti-virus software and use it frequently. Keep it updated.
- Visit only known sites and don't follow random links.
- Open emails from trusted sources only, and from them also -
try to understand if you're looking at legitimate email or at
Spam/viruses (they go together hand in hand).
- Delete the contents of your temporary Internet contents, and
Recycle Bin frequently - this is a great place for viruses to
hold their very private data, which goes undetected.
- Keep up-to-date on modern virus techniques. You can read non-technical
descriptions at plenty of site, like McAfee.
- And last, keep in mind that there's always a change that a
virus will hit you. Keep your data backed up at all times. Backup
your work files, pictures and photographs, music and every other
piece of data you'll need in case you need to setup your computer
- Your backup should be to a remote media. Remote FTP would work
fine, but for Gigabytes of photographs data, you should consider
backing up to CDs / DVDs. After making backup, don't forget to
verify your data, so that when you need it, you can be sure that
By:Yoav Helzer, Founder, OnTheGoSoft