If you have ever been a victim of computer virus infection and especially if you’ve had to pay for data recovery as a result, you probably asked yourself why people create this destructive software. Every person who’s paid for hard drive data recovery in NJ as a result of infection has likely asked the same question. After all, it just seems so pointless. What do people have to gain?
The fact is this: people who create viruses actually have a lot to gain, if not in reality, then at least in their own minds. In this article, we explore some of the reasons why a certain element of society is hell bent on cyber disruption.
#1 An Outlet for Anger
In some cases, the release of a virus serves no purpose other than a venting of anger at the world. Some people with the technical expertise to create viruses do so because they believe they are lashing out at society. This kind of person believes that the world is out to get him/her and creates viruses with the sole intention of being destructive. Unfortunately, this usually means that the type of virus created is also destructive, likely to damage programs and files. Victims of such viruses often end up with serious computer infections causing data corruption and resulting in the need for professional data recovery.
Cyber-Vandals are also unreasoningly destructive in the electronic abominations they unleash upon society. Though rather than doing so out of anger, it’s just for kicks. Often narcissistic and attention seeking, these vandals like to read media reports about the damage caused by their creations. In the same way that some mindless vandals like to smash windows, cyber-vandals just get a thrill out of messing with people’s computers.
Some technically adept individuals just develop a fascination with self-replication malicious computer code and like to experiment with it. These hackers believe the best way to test their experiments is to release them into the world to see how they perform. Sadly these tech-heads either don’t think, or don’t care about the fact that their self-interested projects cause frustration and hardship for anyone whose computer becomes infected. The fact that their experiments are not intended as malicious is little comfort to someone who has to pay for a computer repair due to infection.
A much more malicious breed than those who simply like to experiment, are those who create viruses in an attempt to sabotage the success of others. Cyber-saboteurs usually have a reason for doing what they do. Sometimes it’s an attack on a particular subset of society. Other times it may be for commercial reasons.
There are always those who wish to get ahead of commercial competition by nefarious means, such as bringing down competitors websites or computer networks. Occasionally it’s just done to appease a sense of personal vengeance. While attacking another party with malicious software is bad enough, the collateral damage often extends to innocent computer owners. Everyday people, uninvolved with any conflict end up with a computer virus.
The inconvenience and sometimes costly data recovery does nothing to further a saboteurs ends. However the single mindedness with which they pursue their cause doesn’t give saboteurs room to consider who they might inadvertently affect.
#5 Political Activists
Yet another class of hackers and crackers harbor political motives for letting computer viruses loose on an unsuspecting population. These so-called activists sometimes fight for what some would consider honorable causes but, like the saboteurs, their creations often affect those on the sidelines. At times they even deliberately infect computers owned by the general population purely to highlight their cause.
These and the other classes of virus code writers described above are traditionally the most likely sources of computer viruses. Although malicious, their products are mostly intended for nuisance value. More alarmingly a new breed of true cyber-criminal is targeting everyday folks with the express purpose of theft, extortion and fraud.
#6 Viruses for Extortion
Trojans are often created as a means to attack the servers of commercial websites. The way such a scheme works is by infecting thousands of computers with software allowing the creator to take control of them. These “zombie” computers are then used by the controlling party to send information to a targeted server, with the intention of overloading it and bringing it down. The website owners are then threatened with the attack and a demand of money in return for not crippling their servers.
A disturbing increase in direct extortion attempts on home and business computers reflects our growing reliance on them for storing and communicating important information. The “Cryptolocker” virus is a case in point. This virus actually encrypts your files then directs you to a page where payment is demanded in return for the decryption of your data. There is actually no way to decrypt this data without the key which is held by the perpetrators, thought to be a Russian crime ring. If your computer should fall victim to this virus, even a data recovery service in New Jersey, or anywhere else will be unable to help.
#7 Rogueware Creators
Similar to viruses used for extortion, so-called rogueware gets into your computer disguised as a genuine virus removal tool. This software will tell you it has scanned your computer and found viruses. The software blurb will tell you that you can remove the viruses by purchasing the full software application. A little more subtle than extortion, this kind of virus counts on you being gullible enough to pay for the full application using your credit card.
Protecting Your Computer from Cybercriminals
To whatever ends people create viruses, the best way to defeat them is by protecting your computer with the best antivirus software. Making regular data backups too will save you from the expense of data recovery in the event of file corruption or loss. If your computer has already been infected by a virus and you think your files are lost or damaged, don’t try retrieving them yourself. Just shut your computer down and take it to your local computer repair shop.
If you are located in New Jersey, Dave’s computers will gladly take a look at your computer and help you to get your files back. Just give Dave and the team a call on 908-428-9558.
by David Molnar