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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

Do You Still Need to Worry About Computer Viruses?

How to Avoid Virtual Kidnapping Scams.

In today's digital world, cybercriminals have evolved beyond the days of inserting a virus into your computer to cause disruption or the elimination of your data using a floppy disk or flash drive. Cyber crooks now use various methods to launch a cyberattack, including malware, phishing, ransomware, and denial of service techniques to achieve one objective, get your money or data. In a day and age where 99% of cybercrime requires user interaction to be effective and phishing attacks are becoming the primary way crooks carry out their attacks, it makes you wonder if computer viruses are a thing of the past. Well, that is a complicated question to answer. Read on to find out if you still have to worry about viruses as part of building up your human firewall.

The definition of a computer virus is a type of malicious software, or malware, that spreads between computers and causes damage to data and software. Computer viruses aim to disrupt systems, cause major operational issues, and result in data loss and leakage.  You don't hear people talking about computer viruses as much anymore, but they are still around. When you read about cyber-attacks and data breaches, you probably have the mindset that a crook used their programming skills to hack past network security to gain access to a home or business network. This may be the case some of the time, but in many instances, crooks are still using viruses to help get your data.

You rarely hear people talk about viruses because the old-school method of spreading viruses is no longer used. It was pretty easy to get a virus if a criminal infected a floppy disk or a flash drive, but it took a lot of work. Technology is always moving forward. You're saving items to the cloud, which means a criminal is wasting their time trying to get you to use a floppy disk or flash drive. The entire tech community wants to keep you safe from the bad guys. This is why Internet providers give you routers to make it harder for crooks to gain access to your computers to plant a virus. Operating Systems and Web browsers provide constant updates to keep you safe from malicious activity on the web and your computer-based devices like Windows and Macs have anti-virus software built in.

The mindset of criminals has changed as well. Hackers used to create and distribute viruses to see how many devices they could infect. It was a badge of "hacker" honor to bring down a company or home network with a virus. Bragging rights to show the community how awesome of a hacker they were. Now, criminals are solely focused on gaining access to computers and devices to steal your valuable data to make money. Their methods are less about infecting devices and more about using the easiest method to make a profit. In our current internet age, it's hard to infiltrate systems. It's much easier to use social engineering methods to trick people into clicking a link that will allow the crook to get into computers and networks as well as calling people directly to get their valuable data.

With this all said, criminals still have malicious bots running around the internet that are designed to infect your computer. Ransomware which is a very malicious virus is still used in conjunction with phishing attacks to ensure you pay criminals.

Hopefully, this will give you an understanding that computer viruses are still around and you need to make sure your devices are protected from them. It doesn't matter if you're a home user or a business user, crooks see everyone as a target which means you also need to stay vigilant. If you have any questions,  If you have any questions, please reach out. I'm always available.

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