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9 Common Computer Viruses Infecting PCs and Macs Today

You probably don’t need anyone to tell you that computer viruses are a common cause of trouble for home and business computer users. As technology continues to advance, so does the complexity and destructive power contained within malicious computer software. While viruses were once considered more of a nuisance than anything else, today their use by cybercriminals as a way to extort money and steal personal information is becoming more widespread.

With so many of us using the internet for shopping, banking and even submitting tax information to our governments, it’s no surprise that viruses have become a more serious threat. Home computer users today, as well as businesses have a lot of sensitive data stored on computer drives. An undetected virus can attack that data and damage or destroy it. Any device that connects to the internet is susceptible. Even Mac computers are becoming more prone to virus attacks. Specialists who offer Mac data recovery in New Jersey are seeing more and more clients who have lost data as a result of malicious software.

While you might be aware of the threat posed by computer viruses, it can be helpful to know the different types and the ways in which they can infect your computer. The following list gives you an up-to-date insight into 9 of the most common computer virus types.

1) The Misdirection Virus

Perhaps one of the more malevolent and frightening virus types, the misdirection virus is capable of outwitting your antivirus software. A sub-process in the virus code can trick your antivirus into targeting a problem in one of your computer directories, while the virus infection is in a completely different directory, busily damaging and corrupting files. Its ability to sneak around the back of your antivirus application makes this virus a common cause of damage, resulting in the need for computer repair and data recovery.

2) Secret Viruses

Similar to a misdirection virus, secret viruses are somewhat less of a threat, provided you are running a good antivirus application which is regularly updated. Secret viruses work by changing or even replacing files on your computer, then trying to trick your computer into accepting them as the original files. By using an advanced antivirus solution, you should be able to stop these viruses before they corrupt your files and result in your need for data recovery.

3) Encrypted Viruses

This type of virus is hard to defeat and can get past even the most effective antivirus protection. Encrypted viruses use a different encryption every time. This is what makes them hard for virus protection applications to detect. Once activated, these viruses unencrypt themselves and start infecting your computer. They can cause sufficient damage to result in a need for computer repair before your antivirus software can stop them.

4) The Antivirus Virus

Yes it’s true. There are even viruses out there now which specifically target your antivirus protection. They are devised for this very purpose. The aim of this malicious code is to disable your antivirus and allow other viruses to infect your computer without detection.

5) Time Delay Viruses

Time delay viruses are particularly nasty. They can lay dormant on your computer for a while and then slowly start to infect your files a little at a time. This is one of the reasons it’s important to run a full scan of your computer every so often with your antivirus program.

6) A Cloning Virus

This type of virus infects your computer by cloning .exe files on your computer. Once the cloned files have been created, you risk clicking on one of the infected clones instead of the genuine .exe file when you start up a program. This is an older type of virus which should be easily defeated by modern antivirus software, protecting you from file corruption and the need for data recovery.

7) Multi-Headed Viruses

These are another particularly nasty form of virus. When infected, parts of the virus attach themselves to .exe files on your computer, while other parts infect your start-up files. When this happens you automatically start the virus code running when you power up your computer.

8) Author Viruses

Author viruses are very sophisticated and therefore not so common yet. It’s highly likely that they will become more widespread as capability for writing advanced code improves. Author viruses normally infect program files on your computer and can actually delete and rewrite the program files. When this happens, your programs are changed and either fail to run or they display changed characteristics making them unusable.

9) Mac Specific Viruses

Mac computers have traditionally enjoyed a reputation for being safe from viruses. Sadly this is no longer the case. For example, a new virus known as “Pintsized” is able to get around the OS X Gatekeeper protection and provide remote access for hackers to run commands on the infected Mac. Similarly in 2012/13, the “Flashback” virus infected more than half a million Mac computers, allowing cybercriminals remote access to infected machines to steal passwords and other personal information.

New Jersey Mac data recovery and computer repair experts are seeing an increase in customers concerned that their Mac has been infected. Clearly the days when Apple could boast the safest operating system for computer owners are over.

How to Stay Safe from Viruses

The two most effective ways to combat viruses are to install a good quality antivirus program on your computer and to continuously back up your data. The best antivirus applications are regularly updated to defeat new viruses as they appear. A few dollars spent on an advanced antivirus application is money well spent. Remember to configure your program to automatically update itself from the vendor’s website.

By backing up your data, you can at least prevent the need for data recovery in the event that some of your files are corrupted. If this happens you can simply restore them from your backup solution.

If your computer has been infected by a virus and you have lost files which weren’t backed up, you will need to call on the professionals. Dave’s Computers is a New Jersey data recovery service specializing in PC, Mac and flash drive data recovery. You can get in touch with Dave’s Computers on 908-428-9558.

by David Molnar