17 January 2011|
Customers often ask me, "What is the point of a virus?" I have found that many people believe the mission is to be a nuisance, or viruses are made by kids in their free time. A modern prank of sorts.
The cold truth is unfortunately quite the contrary. Viruses and malware may be annoying to you on the surface, but are much more malicious in their intent. The bad intentions reach beyond the deletion of your files, or stopping your computer from running properly.
Viruses and malware are used in large part to monitor your activity, log what you do, steal the information you key into your computer (credit card numbers, social security numbers, online banking passwords), and send the information over the Internet to the hacker who created the virus.
That's right, viruses are made by hackers. In addition to the aforementioned processes a virus engages in, they also give hackers straight up remote access to your computer, to take what they want, as well as even watch what you are doing in real time.
In some cases a virus and/or hacker will use your computer to commit cyber crimes and attacks on others people's computers on the Internet. Your computer could actually be committing crimes on "auto-pilot", without your knowledge, and be what is referred to as a zombie.
One of the most common types of malware I see currently are trojan viruses, which try to pose as legitimate anti-virus software warning you of viruses and threats to your computer. These "Fake Alert" viruses will ask the user for credit card information to purchase the solution to the problem. The hacker then sells you more viruses, and also has your credit card and billing information.
Sometimes hackers will immediately use the information they steal, and other times they sit on it. A hacker will use black market underground chat rooms, to trade or sell your information to other cyber criminals.
The good news is, most popular viruses make themselves known by slowing down your computer's performance, generating pop ups, etc. However the most dangerous type of malware is the kind you never suspect is on your computer, laying low, keeping stealth, watching, logging, stealing.