- Internet & the Web
Top Myths About Computer Viruses
I Think I Have a Virus
We will look at the top six myths about computer viruses. Hopefully after reading this you will have a better understanding of viruses and be better prepared to protect yourself and your computer from computer viruses.
Number One--You will know when your computer is infected.
Most viruses can only accomplish their goal if they remain undetected on your computer. Virus creators go to great lengths to ensure that the virus they have written will be hard to detect. In many instances, the longer the virus can stay on your computer undetected, the more money the virus creator can make.
Number Two--If you have antivirus software installed on your computer you don’t have to worry about viruses.
Having antivirus software installed on your computer is a great first step in preventing virus infection on your computer. If you do not have the antivirus software updated regularly your antivirus software will not be able to detect the newest viruses. It is also important to keep your operating system updated with the latest security patches.
Number Three--Computer viruses are only transmitted through email attachments.
Email attachments are a very common way for viruses to be transmitted. Other ways for viruses to be transmitted include web pages and instant messenger programs.
Number Four—Viruses can only spread to email addresses in your address book.
There are many viruses that do spread by utilizing your address book. More sophisticated viruses can look for addresses in documents and spreadsheets on your computer as well.
Number Five—Only .exe files can be infected with a virus.
Other file types include .arj, .bat, .com, .cpl, .eml, .pif, .rar, .reg, .scr, .vbs, and .zip. This is not an inclusive list by any means, just a list of the most common file types. There are over 50 file types that can spread viruses, and the list is growing.
Number Six—Only Windows based computers are susceptible to viruses.
In the early days of Windows, Microsoft was very lax about security and they have paid a very high price for it. Since Windows XP SP2, Microsoft has been very serious about security. Microsoft is also a very big target. Most viruses are written for Windows, but there are some viruses out there written specifically for Mac OS X, UNIX, and Linux. Criminals that are trying to steal your bank account information don’t care what OS you are running. Since Microsoft has gotten serious about security and is doing a much better job at securing their OS, criminals are finding it easier to go after other platforms that have not been targets in the past.
Whatever OS you are running, make sure you have antivirus software installed and make sure your computer is updated with the latest security patches.