The Most Common Computer Viruses and How You Can Avoid Them

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Viruses account for 57% of all computer threats. While virtually all computing devices are susceptible to malware and other invaders, Microsoft programs are especially vulnerable because of their popularity. Viruses typically spread through email or executable programs that allow them to replicate, destroying data and rendering files unusable. Quality network monitoring services detect system problems early so you can intervene before they become major hurdles. Knowing about the most common computer viruses and how to avoid them will help you take a proactive, rather than a reactive approach.

The Most Common Computer Viruses

  • Resident viruses hide in your computer's memory and are activated when the operating system loads or performs certain functions. These are among the worst threats, as they may attach to antivirus applications and infect the files they scan.  
  • Direct action viruses are activated as soon as you execute affected files.
  • Web-scripting viruses become active on popular sites when hackers alter the codes that provide engaging content, especially videos. This can be done by merely leaving a comment on the site containing the code they want to exploit.   
  • When your homepage is directed to a particular site that you haven't selected, you've likely fallen prey to a "browser hijacker." Aimed at boosting income from website ads, this virus, though annoying, is relatively harmless.
  • A polymorphic virus can evade most antiviral programs by changing its code every time an infected file is executed.
  • While most viruses contain boot infectors or file infectors, multipartite invaders use both simultaneously, causing more damage than any other type of virus. When multipartites attach themselves to the hard drive, they're activated just by turning on the computer.
  • The macro virus exploits individual users and sends copies of itself to their contact lists.
  • File infectors over-write executable files and can infect several operating systems, including Windows and Macintosh.
[Download Infographic] 7 Most Common Ways To Get A Computer Virus

Preventing  Cyber Attacks

  • Never open an email attachment you're not expecting. Hackers' most effective channel for transmitting viruses is through attachments to emails that claim to be from friends, companies you're familiar with, and even the government. Companies and government agencies generally don't send attachments. When exchanging documents with associates, use free online storage services, such as Dropbox, or message your contacts to confirm that they sent attachments.
  • Consider commercial antivirus protection wisely to ensure you're getting maximum value for your investment. One advantage of commercial packages is that they update themselves regularly to stay ahead of evolving cyber threats. Plus, they usually come with spam-blockers, identity protection, and other helpful features.
  • Some computers come with security features already installed. If that's the case for you, be sure to keep them up-to-date.
  • Consider network monitoring services that send alerts when your system is not performing optimally.
  • Use the newest versions of your email and browser programs and pay attention to malware warnings. Change passwords regularly and avoid using the same password for all your accounts. Install a high-quality anti-spyware program and a firewall. 
  • Back up all important data and store it safely.Cloud storage is secure and allows real-time access.
  • Train your team about cybersecurity with a fun, engaging tool that simulates how a virus invades your system, allows employees to respond, and shows them the proper course of action.

While many underestimate the possibility of a cyber invasion, it's critical to be prepared. Determined hackers can still find ways to get around antivirus tools and security protocols. Education is key. To augment the benefits of network monitoring services, your employees need to know how to prevent cyber invasions and what to do if your system is attacked.

7 Most Common Ways To Get A Computer Virus

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