- Trend Micro
- ICSA Labs Anti-Virus Links
- Symantec AntiVirus Research Center
- McAfee Threat Library
- McAfee Threat Center
- F-Secure Security Center
- Authentium/Command Anti-Virus
- AVG Virus News and Warnings
At any given time there are approximately 1,000 viruses that might infect your computer. There are more than 90,000 viruses that exist today, and that number keeps growing (around 400 per month) as more are created. Out of these 1,000 viruses, you have a good chance of actually seeing a few of the 200-300 that are actually "in-the-wild" (a virus that is currently spreading). Your chances of getting one of the other 600-700 viruses are not as great, but the possibility of getting one is still there. Some of the more recent viruses can spread to thousands of computers within a few seconds.
As you can see the threat of viruses are very real. A virus is a program that was created for malicious purposes (modifying or deleting files, emailing itself to anyone in your email address book, etc.) It is similar to a biological virus as it can spread very rapidly and it is near impossible to destroy completely. There are still viruses from 10 years ago infecting computers today. However, like a biological virus, one can take preventions to reduce the risk of getting a virus. And there is something one can do in order to get rid of a virus if infected. For the computer, this protection comes in the form of Anti-Virus software.
There are a few different ways you may get a virus. One possible way to get a virus is that you might download an infected program. Some people are sharing infected files through file sharing services such as Kazaa, Imesh, etc. If you download files from such services, pay attention to the file size. Most music files will be over 1MB, if you see a song that is under 100k it could be a virus. A virus could come through email as well, either as an attachment or through some type of script that is executed as soon as you view the email. It's a wise decision to NOT open emails from people you do not know, another prevention you can take is to turn off any preview panes. Other viruses can infect your computer as soon as you connect to a network or the Internet by taking advantage of security holes in your Operating System or other applications. This is why it is extreemly important to keep your Operating System up-to-date. If you run Windows, you can go to the Microsoft Security page that will help you secure your Operating System.
Please remember, having an Antivirus program installed on your computer is not enough. Similar to people getting a flu vaccination each year, you want to make sure you keep your Antivirus Software up-to-date. Most Antivirus companys will have updates either once a week or once every other week. If the Antivirus software is even a week or two out of date, you may be open to getting a virus on your computer due to the software not being aware that there is a new virus out there.
At some time you may get an email from someone informing you about a virus. This email may have you check for a specific file on your computer, it may also include things like "according to [CNN, or McAfee, or Symantec] this virus is very bad". The first thing to do is verify that this "virus" is what is being claimed in the email. The best way to do this, is to visit one of the major Antivirus company web sites....such as Symantec, Trend Micro, AVG, or McAfee. If the virus claim is real, you will find more information on their web site. If the virus claim is a hoax (made up), you should also find that information on their site.
If you have questions about viruses, or suspect you may have one, feel free to contact us.
The online Tech Training Center offers a variety of software training workshops and resource downloads that enable computer users at NCTC to better accomplish their information technology goals.