Viruses, Worms, Trojans and How to Protect Your Computer!
Almost every day, we receive another dire warning about some new virus that is going to destroy our hard drive and render the rest of the computer useless! And all of them are false. There are many real viruses, but you won't hear about them in a forwarded email.
Real Viruses - What are Viruses and Worms?
Viruses are tiny computer programs, bits of code that usually install without your knowledge or consent, and degrade your computer's performance, often while using your computer to accomplish some negative goal, such as destroying your files, or sending out more copies of the virus through your email. These are the two main characteristics of a virus: 1. to accomplish some goal as a program and 2. to reproduce and spread itself.
Check out www.SecurityResources.Org for the latest information on real security threats. They have a page, http://www.securityresources.org/news.htm that provides a free list of the up to date, current threats, viruses and worms.
Here is a sample of a virus hoax, the BUDDYLST email. Keep in mind, t BUDDYLST.ZIP is not a virus. It is a hoax. The "virus" does not exist. There is currently no virus that has the characteristics ascribed to BUDDYLST.ZIP. It is a sham, meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.
The hoax message includes the following "warning" in several forms:
Yesterday a friend of mine called and told me about something that happened to him. He opened his E-mail and this BUDDYLST.ZIP was there. When he opened it his computer crashed and when he tried to re-boot he had lost everything! It was a Virus that is being passed around...........BEWARE!
Please forward to as many people as you can so no one will get hurt. These people need to be stopped. Don't download anything form "buddhist.zip" or you will lose all your files.
A computer virus is going around! It is called BUDDYLST.ZIP! Do not download or some jerk from the internet will get your screen name and password! Please send this to any names you can think of and remember never download BUDDYLST.ZIP
Please ignore any messages regarding this supposed "virus" and do not pass on any messages regarding it. Passing on messages about this hoax serves only to further propagate it.
Here is one recently received, as an example of what is being sent:
A computer virus is going around! It is called BUDDYLST.ZIP - DO NOT DOWNLOAD or some jerk from the Internet will get your screen name and password! Please send this to any names you can think of and remember never download BUDDYLST.ZIP!!! ALSO... 3) If you receive an email entitled "WIN A HOLIDAY" ... DO NOT open it. It will erase everything in your hard drive. Forward this letter to as many people as you can. This is a new, very malicious virus and not many people know about it. This information was announced very recently from Microsoft. Please share it with everyone that might access the Internet. Once again, pass this along to EVERYONE in your address book so that this may be stopped!!!
AND FINALLY... 4) Do not open or even look at any mail that says: "RETURNED OR UNABLE TO DELIVER". This virus will attach itself to your computer components and render them useless. Immediately delete any mail items that say this. AOL has said that this is a very dangerous virus and that there is NO remedy for it at this time. Please practice cautionary measures PLEASE DISTRIBUTE THIS TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE...THANKS!
Craig Fischer, President
2850 Pio Pico Drive, Suite G
Carlsbad, CA 92008
For more information about fake, hoax viruses, see these websites:
- Virus Myths and Hoaxes (no Spam, no advertisements). This site has the latest virus scares and hoaxes making the rounds.
- AntiOnline's virus collection - If you want to download and study a virus, here are over 600 of the most common, rendered harmless, of course. This may help you diagnosis your virus problem by showing you exactly what happens. They also define computer viruses, worms, and Trojan Horses with a very good Frequently Asked Question section.
- The Anti-Virus Product Developers (AVPD) Consortium
Great information on virus hoaxes, along with links to anti-virus developers; dedicated to industry standards, product testing, product certification, and market research. Has a very thorough collection, archive, on viruses in the world.
And please let us know about any suspicious calls or emails you receive. We look for patterns so that we can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!