Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

How does a computer get infected


  • pg 1
									How does a computer get infected with a virus or spyware?

There are literally dozens of different ways a computer can become infected with spyware, viruses, and other
malware. Below is a list of the most common ways a computer can contract these infections listed in the order we
believe are most commonly done.
Accepting without reading

     One of the most common ways a computer becomes infected is the user simply accepts what he or she sees on
     the screen without reading the prompt and/or understand what it's asking.

     Some common examples:

   1. While browsing the Internet, an Internet advertisement or window appears that says your computer is
      infected and/or that a unique plug-in is required. Without fully understanding what it is you're getting, you
      accept the prompt.
   2. When installing or updating a program, you're prompted (often checkboxes already checked) if it's ok to install
      additional programs that you may not want or are designed to monitor your usage of the program.

Opening e-mail attachments

     Another very common way people become infected with viruses and other spyware is by opening e-mail
     attachments, even when from a co-worker, friend, or family member. E-mail addresses can be easily faked and
     even when not faked your acquaintance may unsuspectingly be forwarding you an infected file.

     When receiving an e-mail with an attachment, if the e-mail was not expected or from someone you don't know
     simply delete it. If the e-mail is from someone you know, be cautious when opening the attachment.

Not running the latest updates

     Many of the updates, especially those associated with Microsoft Windows and other operating systems and
     programs, are security updates. Running a program or operating system that is not up-to-date with the latest
     updates can be a big security risk and can be a way your computer becomes infected.

Pirating software, music and/or movies

     If you or someone on your computer is participating in underground places on the Internet where you're
     downloading copyrighted music, movies, software, etc. for free, often many of the files can contain viruses,
     spyware and/or malicious software.

No anti-virus spyware scanner/ Not running the latest updates

     If you're running a computer with Microsoft Windows it's highly recommended you have some form of anti-virus
     and spyware protection on that computer to help clean it from any infections currently on the computer and to
     help prevent any future infections. If you are running a anti-virus program make sure you are running the
     updates as well.

Downloading infected software

     Finally, downloading any other software from the Internet can also contain viruses and other malware. When
     downloading any type of software (programs, utilities, games, updates, demos, etc.), make sure you're
     downloading the software from a reliable source and while installing it you're reading all prompts about what the
     program is putting on your computer.
How to avoid getting a Virus:

     Keep your windows up-to-date. Windows Update is a feature that Microsoft has created for patching up its
      security holes for Windows operating systems and for Internet Explorer as well. You should always have the
      most current Service Pack installed for Windows which can be obtained from Microsoft's website
      ( Your STJ laptop is configured to pull these updates as soon as your laptop is connected
      to the internet.
     Keep your ant-virus software up to date. Make sure you are getting the latest virus definitions. Your STJ
      laptop is scheduled for auto updates to be downloaded every morning. In order for the software to accept the
      upgrades your laptop must be logged in and connected to the internet. For manual updates please go to the
      McAfee’s website ( For more detailed instructions you please click link below:
     Take extra care with file sharing. Music and other free peer to peer file sharing programs like Lime Wire,
      µTorrent Kazaaa and Morpheus are quite popular these days but every free program has a downside as well.
      File sharing is one of the easiest ways of getting your computer contaminated with viruses and spyware.
      NOTE: see section on Lime Wire below.
     Don't click on tempting ads and pop-ups especially any type of ads or pop-ups that are offering you free
      getaways or just about anything for free! The same rule goes for email. Also, don't click on fake security
      warnings that we often get these days. Some people even get fooled into buying fake anti-virus or anti-
      spyware programs by clicking on warning ads that tell the users their computer is infected by a virus.
     Be careful with forums, social networking sites and message boards. You should always be careful while using
      chatting software like Instant Messengers or posting messages on message boards, forums and social
      networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc. Sometimes, chat rooms and social sites have hackers
      logged in just for the purpose of spreading a virus or spyware, so you need to make sure who you are talking
      to, who you are adding to your friends list and what type of files you are downloading and accepting from
      people. NOTE: see section on Facebook below.
 Limewire is a popular program used to download shared media files. Once you install the Limewire program, you can
 search for media files and then download them onto your hard drive. Unfortunately, when you download from
 Limewire, you can get a virus during file transfer.
 However, there are methods you can use to avoid getting a virus from Limewire.
    1. Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date. Most anti-virus programs can detect and remove a virus that has
       infected your computer. You should run a virus scan every time you finish downloading files from Limewire.
    2. Stop downloading if Limewire reports a corrupted file. Delete the file from your computer and look for a
       different version of the media file.
    3. Watch the type of file that you download. Viruses from Limewire are often encrypted within executable files.
       Avoid running any files downloaded from Limewire that end in ".exe."
    4. Consider the media type that you are downloading. The music files downloaded from Limewire are usually
       safer than games. This is due to the larger sizes of the game files.


 You can get a virus or worm from Facebook. Sites like Facebook, MySpace and many others are no more dangerous
 than any other form of online media such as email, im'ing, chat boards, uploading music and videos from a p2p, or
 browsing personal websites. You still need to keep your eyes open for the same things and beware. All social
 networking sites are vulnerable, just as are other forms of online media.

 Facebook Worms

 What the Facebook worms do is compromise your privacy and the privacy of your Facebook friends. Don't be fooled,
 just be warned. Below are some of the worms that are out there on Facebook:

       Koobface Virus - It makes you think you're going to watch a funny video or see a funny photo of your friend.
       Profileye Worm - Tells you people are looking at your profile which piques your curiosity as to who it could
       Error Check Worm - Tells you that some of your friends are having trouble viewing your Facebook page.
       Facebook Shuts You Down - Instructs you that Facebook has just shut you down because you did
        something wrong.

 Here are some simple things you can do to protect yourself while on facebook:

Use antivirus and adware software - This will only protect you against certain things. It won't protect you against
many of the worms that are application based, but it will protect you against some of them (and many other things).

Only Update From a Software Site - If you go to view a video on Facebook and you're told to update your software,
think twice. Don't update it from there. If you think you may really need to update your software, go to the website of
the software itself and update it.

Don't Click Strange Links - If you get a message saying something like "Facebook has a message for you, click
here", don't click there. If Facebook has something to tell you, they would have emailed it to you. If you have a
question about a message you received, email them.

Ask First - If you're not sure if your friend sent you something, maybe it looks suspicious, ask them. Just send them
an email asking them if they sent it before clicking on anything.
 What is SiteAdvisor software?
 SiteAdvisor software is an award-winning, free browser plug-in that gives safety advice about Websites before you click on a
 risky site.

 How It Works
 With SiteAdvisor software installed, your browser will look a little different than before. We add small site rating icons to your
 search results as well as a browser button and optional search box. Together, these alert you to potentially risky sites and
 help you find safer alternatives.

 These site ratings are based on tests conducted by McAfee using an army of computers that look for all kinds of threats . The
 result is a guide to Web safety.

 The SiteAdvisor technology is free, easy to install and even easier to use. And it doesn't collect any personally identifiable

 Click here for more information and download SiteAdvisor for Free:

To top