Be aware of viruses ahead! Really? I never get them because…

I have heard just about every story about "I never get viruses." And most of those stories come from people that don't have antivirus software. They might notice a few extra popups but that never slowed down many. Just an annoyance not a virus they say.

Just keep your head in the sand and you'll be fine. From personal users to business users I've seen more avoid scanning their computer for a virus because what they are afraid to find.

A VIRUS!

Oh my I'm infected, now what?

Let me share with you a few little details. Viruses at one time were called Gremlins. (Not sure if that was before or after the movie.)

Viruses have a purpose and believe me they do their job very well.

Some old advertisers used to use popups to install advertisement servers on your computer so you might remember seeing a new advertisement popup every 2 to 3 minutes. That was one major privacy issue and when the company that delivered that virus was accused of a long list of things they stopped. But that didn't stop the virus. It was installed in games, demo software, applications you got with your new CD rom even. (CyberDrive) Long lists of viruses have been designed to do one thing, market products and services. You might have thought your computer was learning how you shopped but in reality it was spying on your shopping and recording everything you did. Even your personal information was recorded. Worried yet? No way, you still don't know.

Next when we saw viruses that attacked our systems and made them break we started to take notice. Actually these in the early days were the same marketing viruses but they were corrupted and instead of slipping in a popup every 3 minutes it corrupted a few OS files and made your computer blue screen.

Viruses that break computers are not the normally virus developed by some very talented programmers. Viruses or unwanted software is developed for a specific purpose and here's my list in order of what you are going to detect and what you will never detect.

  1. Financial Information
  2. Zombie
  3. Spam
  4. Downloaders
  5. Advertisements.

The list above is not proven in IT circles but it is the order of what I have detected over the years.

Let me break down a few things that I have learned.

  1. Your first virus will be the one you never know about. This is a virus designed and distributed for financial gain. Like anything in the real world the virtual world of the internet has its cyber thieves. Just be aware of things.
  2. The Zombie system is a remotely controlled computer. This like the first virus type is typically not detected because it will mostly use exploits in software which AV software doesn't pick up on unless it has been reported. A computer controlled remotely often is related to spam bots.
  3. Spam viruses are similar to the zombie systems but you are the package delivery system. Spam bot controlled computers are mostly servers due to the loads they can handle and the bandwidth they are provided. Most home computers aren't really choice targets but this doesn't mean you might not be part of a spam bot.
  4. Downloaders are typically what we find as drive by infected websites offering us to download software or they might opt to force the download on us. This is a lower scale virus typically used to download additional software which could return us to the first and second categories.
  5. Advertisements are very common and popup viruses are a dime a dozen. Many times a simple popup blocker will help but also not downloading free games or demo games will help. There is nothing free about games and if you don't get advertisements you are providing something to them in return on their game investment.

The 5 categories I have listed are how I see the virus levels. You can give them all names and talk about the ones that gave you problems all day long. But the number one virus infection is the one you will not know about until you reach the number 5 version. I'll explain a bit more.

Antivirus applications are designed to detect known viruses. The Unknown viruses are the ones that many IT administrators worry about. That might be why you are not allowed to casually surf at work. Or at least they ask that you don't. 

Tax Return Rejected

Saturday Jan 25 2014
Tax Returns and your Zip File Viruses are back. You would think by now we all know that our Tax Viruses come with our tax return rejection notices. But for some, it's the same old thing, Oh NO!!! I've been REJECTED!!! Now, before you install that virus hidden in PLAIN VIEW as that ZIP document that clearly says to RUN or download then DOUBLE CLICK! Let's think for 2 minutes so we get 10 seconds of brain power involved.

Adware Generic4.AFHO

Thursday Oct 25 2012
Adware Generic4.AFHO RegistryEasy_Setup003.exe When I have time I like to test out some of these new applications that seem to popup from time to time. This one never made it to the test station because they didn't have documentation. Lucky for me I follow a process before installing software and this didn't make the grade. About about 6 to 8 months later AVG found this to be Adware which was confirmed.

Virus Quick Snippets

Wednesday Jun 27 2012
There are many scripts, programs and applications you can run to clean out specific viruses and general viruses that aren't main stream applications. Some online technicians and technical websites publish allot of handy tools. I also have collected my share of VBScripts to kill processes and search out anything that might be running that shouldn't be running. I'll be posting the ones easiest to use in this section that might help you self-help yourself to computer repair.

Corrupted NIC Drivers

Wednesday May 2 2012
Sometimes it's no big deal, popups, slow computer, browser redirects, antivirus shows active but no scans in 9 months, can't get to some websites but buy this now sites are all over the place. Now my LAN is broken and I need my computer fixed. Who cares about all the signs I ignored for 9 months. I need to get to my Facebook account! (This might sound like a fake experience post but it's all too real.)

Stuxnet rootkit

Thursday Apr 12 2012
Stuxnet rootkit, USB drive, Virus, Worm, Infected, how to prevent complete data loss before viruses, worms, rootkits hit. Listen to what the Xtreme Computer Technicians do.

USB Device Viruses

Tuesday Mar 13 2012
Will the next generation of viruses not require anything more than just looking at the file? How will a .lnk virus actually install if you do not click the link. What explote does this virus take advantage of?

1 | 2

The story goes as follows and this is from experience.

A computer that was used to process high purchases was also used to

download a game one cool November day. The game came complete with a backdoor Trojan unreported to the antivirus application that this computer was running.

Let's fast forward the time line but also remember this was a business computer that processed purchases in the thousands of dollars.

December, January, February, March, April, May, June, July finally the antivirus application now detected a virus on this system. It has been busy recording information for the past 7 months and now that it was discovered it needed to cover its tracks and cover them fast.

Once the AV started its attack on the virus the virus because it was professional in design launched its countermeasures. Yes, it is called Electronic Warfare for a reason in some circles.

The AV software stopped the main virus but not fast enough, the main virus launched a downloader that installed popup viruses which I list as a class 5 virus. The popups were designed to distract while a class 1 virus finished its job. The virus designed to copy financial information had a payload to encrypt everything on the computer so no forensic study could be conducted. It needed time to accomplish this task so it launched countermeasures.

Pure Genius if you ask me. Very destructive but very effective at the same time.

The applications developer is in his or her talents worthy of any DOD job at top pay. Believe me, this was for profit and it's what you should always be reminded of if you work with personal information of others.

Viruses have a purpose and they use you. For what purpose? That's up to the level of virus you have.

So if you're on your works cash register surfing for new music downloads I want you to run your credit card on that same machine once each week so you know what you really did.

Don't underestimate viruses and keep your system as clean as possible.

I recommend a full format and reinstall of your OS every 30 days if you process any protected information and for home users to do it once every 6 months. Microsoft has even said it cannot stay ahead of the viruses and exploits. That's why they even recommend format and recovery.

If you need some pointers on what I use to keep my virus collection computer clean I'll post up some guides in the Computer Boot Camp section on Backup and Recovery processes.

Have a great virus free day!

Last note: That Ransom virus was genius and I tip my hat to the developer. It took me about 2 hours to trace the processes but the payload you offered was removed nicely and encrypting every possible file format was icing on the cake. Until next we meet, your 4,000+ encryption key is still a work of art. GeNIus!-L0<

Most times its our first experience with a problem that makes us all aware of the problem. I have listened to hundreds say to me I don't have to worry about viruses because I only check my email and visit social media sites.