Computer Virus Resources: A Big List of Tools and Guides

Computer Virus Resources: A Big List of Tools and Guides

Below you’ll find a handy list of resources that will explain what computer viruses are, how to prevent them, how to get rid of them, and where you can learn more about computer viruses.

Guides About Computer Viruses

If you’re not familiar with computer viruses and what to know more, or you’re wanting to expand your current knowledge, these resources will provide you with in-depth information about them. From how to detect a virus on your computer to what the most common types of viruses are, these guides have all bases covered: – To get you started, here’s a handy definition of “computer virus.” You’ll also find some information on the different types of viruses (e.g. macro viruses, file infectors, and overwrite viruses); an intriguing history of computer viruses; and some of the world’s most famous viruses. You might also want to check out their malware guide, which provides you with even more in-depth information. – Produced by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, this information introduces you to viruses and how you can avoid them. – This resource provides you with the ultimate cheat sheet for tackling computer viruses. It explains how to configure your antivirus software, how to scan for viruses on your computer, and how to operate your computer safely. It also includes a section on what to do if your computer does get a virus and how best to handle this. – Discussing the three most common types of computer viruses, this resource delves into trojans, botnets, and scareware. It goes into detail about each of these while also providing you with advice from some industry-leading experts. – To tackle computer viruses it’s imperative that you’ve got antivirus software installed on your computer. And this great, jargon-free guide explains why you need antivirus software and what you need to look out for when buying it.

BBC Bitesize – Even though this resource is aimed at kids, it still provides a great overview of what viruses are, what can happen if your computer gets one, and what the most common types of malware are. Perfect for educating the kids on what to look out for when they’re on the computer.

Choosing Tools that Will Protect and Remove Computer Viruses

To help you find the most effective antivirus software for your computer, these resources provide useful advice on what features to look out for: – Providing a list of the best antivirus protection for 2017, Comparitech has done all the hard work for you by reviewing each provider in detail. They’ve looked at various criteria, including value for money, effectiveness, and additional features. You can read in-depth reviews on each of these providers before making your purchase. – Here you’ll find some more information about what antivirus software does, how it works, and how it will respond to threats.

SE Labs – Founded by security expert Simon Edwards,  Chairman of the Board of the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization, this company provides independent testing of antivirus programs. Consumers can sign-up to receive their latest reports here.

Databases About Viruses

To stay alerted to potential threats, you may want to check on these databases which provide the latest real-time updates on existing and emerging threats and vulnerabilities: – WildList Organization International aim to provide comprehensive, timely, and accurate information to product developers and users about computer viruses that are “in the wild.” The list is produced by over 40 recognized volunteers and is free for all to view. – As a leader in cyber security, this is a great place to visit if you want to hear about the latest threats. You can find up-to-date information about emerging threats, emerging risks, and vulnerabilities. – On this website you’ll find a list of recent threats, which have been assessed to establish what type of risk they are (i.e. low or high). You can also find a global virus map and a list of recent virus hoaxes. – Learn about the top threats through AVG Threat Labs’ encyclopedia of viruses. Here you can learn more about specific viruses (e.g. Trojan Horse) while also seeing what threats have been detected today and what types of malware have been found.

Additional Resources and Organizations

CERT – If you want to stay up to date with all the latest developments in Internet security, including the most recent computer virus threats, this is your go-to place. Run as part of the Software Engineering Institute, CERT aims to provide cutting-edge information, advice, and training to continually develop and improve cybersecurity. – This nonprofit organization is based in Asia and is made up of a number of experts from all over the world. Their aim is to prevent the damage and spread of malicious malware while also raising the awareness of computer viruses to users across the globe. – For Mac users, this is a must-see resource as it provides you with added details on the type of safety that’s built into Macs. It’s also a good place to keep up to date with the latest advancements and whether there are any updates you need to do. – Here you can learn about Microsoft’s latest investments, what they’re doing to make their systems safe, and the security methods that are built into their systems. If you’re a business, you can also perform a security risk assessment, which helps you to see the cost implications of a security threat and what measures you need to take to protect your company. – As an independent service provider, AV-TEST carries out research work which enables them to find the latest threats and analyze these before informing customers about their findings. Stay up to date with their latest tests through their website, narrowing your search down according to what device you want to search for – e.g. Android; Windows (business or personal); and MacOS. – With this publication you can find out the latest techniques, developments, and threats to online security, while also hearing the opinions of industry experts. Virus Bulletin also tests anti-malware software, so you can read about their certification schemes and what these involve.

Antivirus software – an analysis of why you need it and what to look out for

Antivirus software – an analysis of why you need it and what to look out for

In the not-so-distant past, bedroom coders with a passion for mischief created what some would now term ‘works of art’ – computer viruses that announced themselves to the world, often with flashy (for the time) graphics and a penchant for doing some pretty freaky things with the display on your VDU (an old-style cathode ray tube monitor that pre-dated modern flat screens).

Occasionally amusing, often annoying, they were tricky to get rid of back in the late 1980s, primarily because there weren’t many companies offering removal services and there definitely wasn’t an internet, at least not in a form that would be recognisable today.

But things soon changed as companies saw an opportunity to provide a useful service while making a stack of cash on a yearly subscription basis.

Security vendors appeared, offering “computer insurance” in the form of antivirus programs.

Back in the day, those antivirus programs were sent out to subscribers on floppy disk, with updates arriving on further disks every few months or so.

Then, later, as the internet began to take off, updates would be sent weekly, maybe even daily, as the number of viruses began to increase.

It wasn’t every computer user who had to worry about malware in those days – the Apple Mac’s niche status at that time allowed it to fly under the radar and was actually a key selling point in the burgeoning battle with Microsoft and its Windows operating system.

But that was then and this is now: we no longer see viruses that play games with us, or cause text to scroll down the screen – so that means there is no longer any need for antivirus software, right?

Think again.

Why you still need antivirus software

Quite simply, the problem with viruses or, more specifically other forms of malware, has not gone away.

Far from it in fact.

The days when security researchers found a few new viruses every day have long since disappeared – they’re now finding thousands of new threats on a daily basis and most of them are not viruses at all but rather Trojans, designed to steal your data or recruit your PC into a botnet.

Motivated by money rather than art or the progression of technical skills, modern malware is the antithesis of the viruses of days gone by – it doesn’t want to draw attention to itself at all.

Now, we’re not going to try and scare you by saying that means your computer is secretly infected right now – it may or may not be, depending on the security software you may have installed and the way in which you use your machine – but we would say that it is a possibility.

Machines connected to the internet are vulnerable.

Over time, developers have improved the security of operating systems, browsers and routers, but vulnerabilities are still there all the same.

Not only that, the ‘bad guys’ are no longer lone wolves – they’re organised criminals looking to cash in on your identity, gain access to your bank account, borrow your computer’s resources to throw DDoS attacks at hapless victims or send thousands of spam emails out in your name.

Such people are talented, organised and well-funded and it’s no secret that many of them are one step ahead of the ‘good guys’ at all times.

So if you don’t protect your computer, what chance do you have against such bad actors?

What problems can you expect if you don’t take security seriously?

The potential issues posed by malware are vast, simply because of the sheer volume of it being produced each and every day.

That said, most can be categorised into a small band of broader threats.

In the early days of computing the early viruses were often nothing more than an aggravation, playing with displays and showing of the “skillz” of whoever was responsible for the coding.

The more malevolent viruses went another step further though, messing with the master boot record (MBR) on your computer’s hard drive, thereby making it unusable and potentially corrupting the data stored on it.

While such an attack vector is definitely not so common now, it has begat something far more insidious – ransomware – which will lock a hard drive with virtually unbreakable encryption, demanding payment for return of the data stored upon it.

Then, as we have already mentioned, there are Trojans – named after the Trojan horse of legend, used by the Greeks to surreptitiously gain entry to Troy – which secretly hide on your machine, doing as bidden in the background.

Spyware and adware can also be a problem.

Embedding themselves into your browser, these pieces of code watch where you go, watch what you do, slow down your PC and report back to whoever controls them and lead to an invasion of your privacy and the risks associated with having your personal information in the hands of a crook, or an increase in the amount of advertising you seen when surfing the web, targeted or otherwise.

The way in which such malware is delivered has evolved too.

Criminals no longer have to rely upon propagation through floppy diskettes – they can also spread their wares via USB sticks, CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, over local networks, through fake websites, corrupted websites, over WiFi, and many other ways besides.

If you don’t have antivirus software installed, and engage in risky behaviour (ignoring browser security warnings, clicking unknown links in emails, connecting to unknown networks, visiting websites of a certain nature, etc.) then the risk of your machine getting infected is that much higher.

So, you want virus protection?

That’s good to hear!

Hopefully you now realise that antivirus protection is essential.

It’s not a silver bullet – such a thing doesn’t exist in the world of computer security – but it certainly is an ally worth having.

But which program do you go for?

That’s a very good question, and one we’ll be covering in great detail with our growing list of product reviews covering the best antivirus programs and full internet security suites.

It really is worth putting some research time into picking the right program for you because not all antivirus software is created equally.

There are free versions, paid for programs and even online scanners.

Some of them are good, when excellent would be better, some are poor, and some are completely fake.

Others have even been known to cheat the tests run by independent labs.

So how on earth do you pick which antivirus program is the best fit for your needs?

Much will depend on your level of confidence and competence when it comes to computing.

With all the features being crammed into even entry-level antivirus programs these days there is much to confuse the less computer literate among you while the same features could prove to be a key selling point to those who have a fair level of understanding in the IT field.

So, that said, the following points will be more or less pertinent to you, depending on your own personal circumstances:

Ease of use, documentation and support

For many people the ability to pick up an antivirus program and start using it straight away with the minimum of fuss will be a key factor in their decision-making process.

It doesn’t matter how effective a piece of antivirus software is if you can’t use it and installing such a program without setting it up correctly could actually be worse than not having any protection at all, given that you would then have a false sense of security.

And even if you do have some idea of what your PC antivirus program can do, a poor interface could still be intimidating for the average person.

For most people, the best antivirus program is the one that is easy to understand, easily setup and then quite happy to be left running in the background, performing to an acceptable level.

If it’s made to be any more complicated than that it runs the risk of confusing the very person its designed to protect.

That’s why clear instructions are essential.

Alas, the days of programs arriving in physical boxes with printed documentation appear to be a thing of the past, and downloaded security software doesn’t always come with instructions either, so clear and concise instructions on the company’s website or support forums could be essential, as could quality email or telephone support.

Effective protection, low impact on system resources

It goes without saying that ease of installation and use will only get you so far with an antivirus program – once in place it needs to actually get on with the job of protecting you and your system.

If your newly installed protection cannot actually protect you then it isn’t worth having at all.

Therefore, it is essential that you choose an AV program that will get the job done, preferably with the minimum of fuss.

That means a great detection engine, real-time scanning, a frequent update of virus definitions to ensure you don’t fall prey to the latest zero day attack, the ability to isolate suspicious files and other as-yet unidentified potentially malicious code on the fly, and a code base that allows it to go about its business without impacting your computer’s resources to the point that it impacts any work or gaming you may be engaged in at the same time as a scan is going on.

A good communicator

The key to any relationship is good communication and that holds true for your antivirus program too.

While you generally want it act like a Victorian child – seen but not heard – a complete silence should also be a concern.

Instead, the ideal antivirus program will keep you updated on what it is doing but without going overboard and peppering you with a constant stream of messages.

In other words, you want it to run in the background, only reporting when a scan has been completed, something of interest has been discovered, or a virus neutralised.

A range of additional features

Antivirus programs have evolved greatly in recent years and now offer more features than ever before.

For those of you looking out for more than just vanilla antivirus protection, those additional features could be key and may be the difference between plumping for an AV program and a full internet security package.

Some of the more common such features that you may find bolted on to your virus scanner of choice include:

  • unique, dedicated browser for online banking
  • rootkit detection
  • script blocking
  • browser warnings
  • parental controls
  • social network protection
  • email screening
  • anti-phishing protection
  • anti-spyware
  • anti-keylogging features
  • low resource-usage gaming modes
  • PC tune-up facilities

Which, if any, of the above features are important to you will heavily influence the type of antivirus software you choose to go with – while some free programs are competent at basic scanning duties, they often lack the additional benefits conferred by handing over a small amount of cash for your protection.

Of course it’s up to you to choose which is relevant to your needs but we would caution against thinking you can get away without any protection at all – employing some degree of prudence will not only protect your own devices, it will also ensure that you’re not a bad web neighbour, unknowingly collecting malware and passing it onto your family, friends and other contacts.

The Importance Of Using A VPN

The Importance Of Using A VPN

  • Almost every household in America now has access to the Internet. You pay a substantial fee each and every month and should be able to use the Internet freely without hurdles. Nevertheless, some companies and governments believe otherwise. These entities want to monitor your online activities all day, every day to ensure that you’re not up to something malicious. Or perhaps these groups are simply paranoid and prefer to keep users under lock and key? Whatever the case might be, everyone should learn how to protect their identity online. The importance of learning to use a VPN will be explored in greater detail below.

    No Restrictions

    In some cases, using a virtual private network is done to shield your identity. In others, the user may wish to break the constraints and gain access to content that may be blocked in their country. YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and other websites have content that is only accessible to people from certain geographical regions. In this type of situation, it would be impossible to access this content. This is where a virtual private network will come in handy. By utilizing a VPN, you will be able to make it appear that your company is located in a different area.

    This will allow you to jump the hurdle and unlock the content immediately.

    Maintaining Your Anonymity

    Privacy has become a major concern for consumers all around the world. Today, consumers understand that they’re consistently watched by the government, as well as the world’s biggest corporations. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to allude their monitoring systems? This is truly one of the most common uses of a virtual private network. VPNs tend to be much more effective at hiding the user’s identity than proxies and IP maskers. By utilizing a VPN, you will be able to secure your identity, connections and communications.

    Using the best VPN will make it impossible for your Internet service provider to track your activities. Simultaneously, the websites and applications you use will not be able to gain access to your true identity.

    Changing Your IP

    As you likely already know, each and every computer connected to the Internet is assigned an IP address. Your IP address closely resembles your fingerprint, but there is a major difference. While it is generally not possible to alter your fingerprint, your IP can be changed fairly easily. Often times, consumers can simply disconnect from the Internet, reconnect and gain a new address. However, you may be interested in a more dramatic change. If so, you will definitely want to setup your computer to use a virtual private network right now.

    With a VPN, you will be able to change your address, as well as other details. This can be a good way to gain access to websites that have previously banned your IP address or IP range.

    Improved Wi-Fi Security

    Security is a major concern when it comes to connecting to the Internet through a Wi-Fi hotspot. It can be convenient to use the Wi-Fi at an airport, restaurant or bookstore, but there are many risks involved. When utilizing a free Wi-Fi hotspot, there is a possibility that a hacker will be able to log the unencrypted data sent from your computer to the websites that you’re using at any given time. It is pertinent to take steps to prevent this from happening! A VPN is a great solution to this precise problem.

    A VPN will give you the ability to encrypt your activities, so they cannot be used by hackers. If you want to keep your social media or banking details private while using a free Wi-Fi hotspot, a VPN is truly a necessity.

    Accessing Censors Websites

    Believe it or not, some governments believe it is in their citizen’s best interest to block access to certain websites. In some countries, such as China, websites like YouTube and WikiLeaks have been blocked. This can make it very difficult for people living in these countries to know what is going on in the outside world. VPNs give these individuals the freedom to browse these websites and gain access to the truth! If you happen to live in a country that restricts your freedom to use the Internet as you see fit, you should learn how to use a VPN as soon as possible.