Hello everyone, and welcome to this new issue of Web ITRadio on the subject of antivirus.
Most of you are aware that there are dangers on your computer from viruses. Where do viruses come from? This is an excellent question, which is difficult to answer, just as to try and explain the origin of a disease. How many viruses are there in the world? Well, according to antivirus company Symantec, there are more than 21 million viruses listed in the computer world. Methods to identify the virus may vary. For example, the antivirus company Panda, meanwhile, has identified 17 million viruses. Some people ask me today whether viruses are actually dangerous. Not only are they dangerous for your own computer, but even your governments are extremely worried about the information contained in their computers. If you have confidential information about yourself, but also about other people, such as your customers, I recommend you watch the video link in point 2.1.1 of this slide. This report is a 45-minute television show from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in English that shows how « hackers » can get in almost any computer. So consider the recommendations listed and explained in this show as an absolute base for your protection.
In the real world, how does one usually catch a computer virus? Well, most of the time, it is by your own usage. It is possible that you open an infected email, access a web page with an attack code with an infected file on external media borrowed from friends, or even through an attack through your wireless network, if it is poorly secured.
Now that you have a general idea of how to catch a computer virus, let’s look at the usefulness of a computer virus. The purpose of a virus is usually to take control of your computer and use it for specific tasks such as stealing important information to prove a point, or to prove the possibility of doing so, or for revenge, or simply to disturb the operation of your network or your computer in exchange for a ransom.
Myself, I’ve met programmers who developed a virus with a due date in order to ensure they get paid for a programming job that required a final payment. I have also known kids and technicians who created viruses just for the kick of it. However, nowadays, the reasons for the creation of viruses are much more numerous. Industrial espionage, government, or ransom to a company, the reasons a person decides to create a virus are multiple.
With more than 21 million computer viruses worldwide, and increasing attacks, during my research, I was hoping to find a kind of global regulatory authority conducting the management of these risks. Well, it seems that the computer protection industry is self-regulated, having an agreement in principle to share information with the various members. However, the FBI in the United States, the technological integrated crime group linked to the RCMP and the Module of cyber surveillance in Quebec are some of the pillars of support for companies dedicated to the protection.
I will not go into detail about the types of the virus, but it is important to understand that you do not deal with a single type of virus. Everyone has their method of attack, and its method of infection. Whether we speak of a Trojan, a worm, a macro virus, or a polymorphic virus, methods are more and more exotic with time to attack you.
An example of a typical tactic of virus attack. Again, if you want a detailed example of the type of possible attack, especially to your children, I invite you to click on the link in this slide that shows U.S. FBI Director explaining the type of cyber-attack to beware against children.
Here is an example of the type of attack that could easily happen to you.
Some software will suggest a solution to solve all your computer problems. By clicking on the suggested link for the solution, an attack program is activated, and you cannot stop it until you have integrated a credit card number. Also, toolbars can be installed to suggest methods of Internet research, but compile the data you enter until they detect code fields of username and password you enter and you unconsciously provide essential information for them to access secure sites with your own data.
Now, here are other more aggressive ways to attack your computer system. It is easily possible for a web designer to install a software that will automatically download malware from a web page without your permission, and that would activate and record audio and video with your webcam without your knowledge and then you ask a ransom for images and audio they captured, otherwise they will publish these images and sound on public websites, which could put you in an awkward position!
They could copy data from your computer using the downloaded software and publish this data on the Internet, doing the same kind of blackmail.
Finally, some present themselves as a teenage online user who wants to meet another teenager to try to have a meeting in person. There have even been dating sites, where people identified themselves in some way online, but when you met the person in real life, it was quite another thing!
Imagine, even some countries have almost irrefutable evidence of attack on their infrastructure. Iran claims to have been a victim of a virus in the infrastructure of their nuclear project. In August 2003, there was a complete stop of the electrical systems from New York to Toronto due to a worm.
Now that you’re really afraid, what can you do to protect yourself?
Well, let’s start with the basics. Your router must be configured with a safe configuration to perform a first barrier vis-à-vis the entire Internet. : Extremely important, the software that runs the router, the « firmware », should be the latest version from the manufacturer of the router. Also, it is important that if the router has a wireless module, the configuration of wireless access is well configured. Some numbers are not enough or even a few numbers and some letters is still to flimsy. Make sure you have a password for your wireless containing letters and numbers, uppercase, lowercase, and ideally a special character. If you only have letters and numbers with upper and lower case, make sure you have a password long enough to help the complexity of the possible attack. Remember that a wireless network is accessible at all times, even outside your home. It is very easy for a hacker to install a module with a battery in a bush near you, and then carry out attacks for several days or even weeks at a great distance from your home or office.
Secondly, make sure that each of your stations has an enabled firewall. In the Windows operating system, it should be enabled by default. Other programs are also available to protect you, but the important thing is to have one.
On each of your posts, antivirus definitions, the knowledge of the types of software viruses that exist in the world, should be up to date.
Small techy trick, it’s a good idea to have more than one type of virus in your home or office. Thus, it is possible for you to perform checkups with different software from one computer to another. This allows you to have more than one opinion about the safety of your desktops.
If you have any doubts about the integrity of your workstation, some antivirus manufacturers provide a copy of their free tool online to analyze your workstation. This allows a rapid analysis as a second or even a third opinion.
Another method of data protection is a bit more elaborate and requires you to encrypt your hard drive. You can use the integrated feature in the Windows Professional version, or a custom tool. But the advantage of this is that it will also protect you in the event of physical theft of your computer.
For children, a little tape on webcam avoids image recording without them realizing it.
Obviously, the most important thing is to be vigilant. Be careful when receiving strange emails asking you to click a link. Even if they appear to come from authority, such as Canada Post or Revenue Canada, they are just as devastating. Avoid opening files of dubious origin, as well as accessing questionable websites. Another little trick, move your mouse over the link to see the destination before clicking the link.
I guess some of you were expecting me to give you a miracle antivirus software solution. My days of absolute belief in a product are gone! The main reason is that often, a company will develop a methodology to analyze and this will work on that current version of software for a specified period, but the methods of attack change faster than their software versions. That is why, often, a software has an edge over a certain period of time, but after a while it will be considered less effective. Here, however, is the list of the most popular antivirus on the market. Which one to choose for you, this is where your computer technician can help you.
Some of these programs are more effective on an operating system compared to another, and some have limitations on the type of email program you use, etc. However, here is a list of my experiences over time with the different software’s. This does not necessarily reflect a current position of use and functionality of the software, just my personal experience with the tool when I integrated into an environment or another.
It is important to know that payable software does not necessarily guarantee efficiency! Free software does not mean it is not good. One software offer is to have a free version to detect and clean basic viruses, but when it detects a more dangerous virus, it will offer the option of the paid software for cleaning. Also, some give a free version for personal use, but at the corporate level, you will be required to pay the license.
To have an informed opinion, and have regular updates, I recommend you to access the www.download.com site, and then search with the word virus, and then sort by amount of downloads. Usually, one million people which have downloaded the software should be able to help you choose, not to mention the comments they have entered on the site!
Again, it is important to remember that antivirus protection is not absolute. Prudence, smart surfing, and giving limited access to other members of your family and your business to your computer is key.
Life is filled with human mistakes.
In the case that your computer becomes infected, here are some suggestions to help you get rid of your problem:
– Remove the hard drive of your computer when it is off and insert it into a USB enclosure, in order to perform a scan with an antivirus program on another computer, so no software is enabled on the infected hard disk . This significantly increases your chances of cleaning, since very often the activated virus prevents cleaning. Once cleaned, try to copy the essential files to your work on another media, such as a USB key.
– Here is a list of some cleaning tools. Some are more complex to use, some are more basic. It is possible that you need a computer technician to use these tools, but by using these tools, you can eliminate a large proportion of the damages incurred by the virus, even if they are activated for a few hours or a few days.
– If, with the above procedures, you managed to restart your computer, it is possible that your computer won’t works as well as before the bug entered the system. The best way to fix this unfortunate adventure is by reinstalling the operating system. Sometimes a bad experience like this allows an opportunity to start over. Take this moment to see if it would be useful for you to have a bigger hard drive, or upgrade to a new operating system. If you buy a new hard drive, it is often possible that your current hard drive might be installable as a secondary drive, allowing you to use the disk space, but also have a primary disk with more space.
Obviously, this is a relatively fast presentation of everyday hazards caused by computer viruses, and it is quite possible that you might have additional questions. We invite you to download the PDF version of the program to gain access to all the links mentioned, including the cleaning tools.
Do not hesitate to contact us, we invite you to download the application for smart phone and tablet, and we have an email address and a phone line for questions. Note that it is possible that your message in the mailbox is uploaded on the site in order to provide a detailed response to all visitors. Thank you for listening, and happy IT usage until the next show!