Viruses, Trojans and Hackers: The “Not Me” Factor

Viruses, Trojans and Ransomware
Viruses, Trojans and Ransomware
Maybe you haven’t been hit by Viruses, Trojans and Ransomware yet…but there’s a good chance you will.

Doctors have patients who never get a flu shot. They don’t think they’ll get sick because they say they’re careful. “Not Me!”, they say…and then they get sick. Parents tell their teenage children to not text while driving. But they often don’t listen, and tell their friends “Not Me!” insisting that they’ll be careful…until they get in an accident. And I have clients and friends tell me that they don’t need high-level protection from viruses, trojans and ransomware because it won’t happen to them because they are…you guessed it…careful. “Not Me!”, they say. “Besides, it hasn’t happened yet!” And then it does happen.

And it happens in the worst way possible.

The people who think “Not Me” are the ones with the greatest confidence and the greatest chance of getting hacked eventually.

A Typical Virus Attack Looks Like This…

We get new clients like this fairly frequently. Here’s just one example: A few years ago, someone called us because they needed our help removing a virus from a computer. The virus looked like a twisting circle in the middle of the screen and made a continuous noises. Then came the the pop-up ads for all kinds of products, including a long list of “Not Safe For Work” products that I can’t write about here. Any time my client wanted to visit a website, they were distracted by all the virus and trojan garbage that popped up on their screen, blocking their way.

And then this virus spread across their network to other computers in their office.

While all of that was going on, their computer was turned into an email server that sent out thousands of virus-filled emails to all of this person’s contacts, anyone who ever sent a message to this person, and anyone they ever sent an email to. Those emails spread the same problems to thousands of other people.

Related programs sit patiently and wait for you to log into your bank or stock portfolio, steal your login information, and then drain your accounts minutes later.

The Dangers of Ransomware

These days, it’s also common for a virus and trojans to include ransomware that totally encrypts thousands of files on your hard drive, including word processing documents, spreadsheets, Quickbooks data files, other accounting program data, images, client files, and more. Then, you get a message on your screen that demands payment of a ransom of hundreds or thousands of dollars in order to recover your files.

So, even worse than draining your bank account, these viruses can totally shut down your business.

What would be the cost to your and your business if your entire hard drive’s data was locked up and held for ransom? What would you do? How long would you last?

How Virus, Trojan and Ransomware Attacks Happen

Maybe the better question is how could all of this happen in the first place?

Here are the top 4 ways that you might become infected by a virus, trojan or ransomware attack.

1) Email: As we’ve described here, email is certainly a potential source of viruses. You’ve heard the warnings before about not opening attachments unless you are expecting them. Similarly, links to virus-filled websites can be just as damaging.

2) Phishing: This is a strange term that describes websites and emails that look like they come from a legitimate sender, such as your bank, credit card company or even Paypal. They are designed to get you to go to log into their fake site with your real username and password. Moments later, you’re bank account is empty, or charges were made on your credit cards. It’s a nightmare.

3) Visiting illegitimate websites: Some websites with provocative content are designed simply to spread viruses to unsuspecting people like you. Clicking on links, downloading files and even simply viewing certain pages can infect your computer.

Finally, here’s the scariest one…

4) Visiting legitimate websites: That’s right, legitimate websites can spread viruses, trojans and ransomware, too. That’s because the legitimate internet is filled with advertisements, and those ads are distributed by Ad Networks. These ad networks have complex coding that fill your browser with code that can start audio, start videos, and load other content onto your browser. They can just as easily be used by bad guys to put malicious code onto your computer…without you having to click on anything! Like I said, this is the scary part, because all you did was visit a legitimate website. And no matter how observant or careful you are, you can still become infected.

So How Can You Protect Yourself?

If you’re not working with us, or you are working with another company that isn’t protecting you fully from threats like this, at the very least make sure your antivirus software is working and up to date. Then go install some content-filtering and ad-blocking software. We recommend Ublock Origin. It’s a solid Chrome Extension that can go a long way towards preventing some of the threats that are trying to attack you every day.

How You Can Protect Yourself Even Better from Viruses, Trojans and Ransomware

If your business just can’t afford the potential loss of time, data or cash from your bank account, we invite you to see what we do for our own clients. We have ways of trapping double or triple the number of threats that other methods can detect. Our military-grade security technology works in two very important ways.

First, it monitors every byte of data flowing into your computer and compares it to the millions of viruses and other malware that it knows about. If it looks the least bit suspicious, it gets blocked.

The second way we can prevent an attack is with special behavior-based software. Rather than comparing incoming content to a known list of bad code, we lock down your computers to only allow specific legitimate actions. This software is always watching your computer for any programs that are not specifically authorized and shuts them down immediately.

Not only does this protect you from viruses and other malicious software, it also prevents employees from wasting time while on the clock. (That’s a topic we’ll discuss more on another day.)

If you’re done playing the “Not Me” game, and would like to help prevent viruses, trojans and ransomware from attacking and shutting down all or part of your business, let’s talk. Our clients know how hard we work on their behalf. They also know that our security work is backed by our $1,000,000 ransomware guarantee. Contact or call us today to find out more at 818-913-1335.