The threat from computer viruses in the last few years has grown manifold. With every passing year our systems are being exposed to a huge number of viruses and malware. According to a study, in the first half of 2010, experts noted the presence of more than 1,017,208 new malware programs. This was the highest number of malware found ever before in a six months period (source: www.gdatasoftware.co.uk). If we are concerned about the security of PCs’ that is often challenged by online threats then we need to devise a way that can predict the moves of these virus authors before they overpower our systems.
As we step into the new millennium we also have developed new technologies that have empowered us to contain the impact of these fast replicating viruses. To be proactive in responding to the swift attacks made by these viruses, we must be acquainted with their mode of infection and other traits. This blog is an attempt to let you know about those five viruses that has a track record of spreading very fast.
It is a deceptive virus that first appears very friendly and also alerts the target user about hardware issues and scanning systems to keep online threats at bay. The issues cited by this virus actually do not exist and are fake. It induces the user to buy certain software to prevent virus attacks. It shows the user screenshots of problems that can arise with the system if the user does not download the particular software. Even if the user chooses to cancel the message, the system restarts and stops only when the user allows downloading of the software. The system gets infected with this virus through an image search and when the user opens a result page leading to the installation of software.
Like a typical Trojan, Zeus comes via a deceptive e-mail. Zeus is also known as Zbot and it is among the fastest spreading Trojan viruses that had affected global online banking during the mid-2010. Systems using Firefox and Internet Explorer web browsers were seriously affected from this virus. It stole the vital financial information and details regarding online banking from other infected computers. As soon as the user clicked on the link attached with the malicious e-mail, the virus got activated and started collecting passwords, logging keystrokes, creating extra fields to acquire vital information. The virus has been designed to send data to a remote server and it is customized by people actively involved in cyber crime.
The virus created panic among people using Internet for banking transactions as it spread faster than expected. Experts were apprehensive about the fraud losses it could have caused as one third of users used Firefox for online banking transactions.
Sality is another fast replicating virus. It was analyzed as an entry point obscuring (EPO) polymorphic file infector with a design to affect executable files as well as remote and removable shared drives. Systems based on Windows 2000, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT and Windows XP were affected by this virus. Its first version was noticed in 2003 and it was probably designed and conceptualized in Russia.
Besides infecting executable files in shared drives, it replaced the original host code at the entry point of the executable files to promote the polymorphic viral code. The viral code was then encrypted and fed in the final section of the host file.
Hotbar, another very fast replicating virus, was first noticed in August 2003. Experts termed it as a spyware that affected systems running on Windows 98, Windows 95, Windows XP, Windows Me, Windows Vista, Windows NT, Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000. Its mode of infection was very deceiving and the moment a user clicked on a malicious ActiveX file, it resulted in the installation of Hotbar. When users visited Hotbar.com and clicked to download games, videos or any other tool, they also downloaded this dreaded infection. It was capable of adding skins to Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express toolbars very fast. It infected many computers that accounted for multi-million losses across the globe.
Online viruses are such threats to Internet users that cannot be averted entirely especially when they are made all the more complex by cyber criminals. It seems an impossibility, to bring forth a foolproof security mechanism for all computers. The best that we can do is to stop their infiltration is by spreading awareness and also by using good quality end point security software. All users are advised to upgrade the antivirus software installed on the system. Call a computer support service provider right now if it is not updated and keep your system safe from these swift viral attacks.