Ways to get viruses

Matthew Renna

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Jan 24, 2017
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How are they ways people usually get viruses? I always hear people talking about viruses, and yet I never get them. I'v never had one on my desktop. I even used an old laptop running xp at school up until last month. It didn't even have virus protection and I never got a virus. Does the network you use protect against virus? How does it work?
 

Eximo

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This is a very complex topic. You might start with Wikipedia and work your way through the various types of threats out there. Adware, Malware, Viruses, Denial of Service, Rootkits, Botnets, Worms, Spyware to name a few.

If you stick to mainstream websites you are less likely to encounter malware and viruses. It is people using search engines and venturing to lesser traveled parts of the web that are most susceptible to infection. Less traffic, less people reporting problems, and the lesser likelihood of there being a full time staff to handle such issues.

I would say the most common type of malware will come in the form of advertisements. Depending on the source of the advertisements nasty people can sneak in malicious code every once in a while. If they are one of the major ad firms, it will be quickly taken care of. However, the return vs risk is quite high. If you can slip a bad ad into an ad service for even a short period, as long as they have enough customers you might get thousands of victims. And if the end goal is something like user accounts, passwords, or credit card numbers, they can net a tidy profit quite quickly.

Enterprise/School sometimes have a hardware firewall running that prevents some types of code from passing through the network. Basically any sneaky ports or unexpected traffic not directly requested by the clients wouldn't be able to get through.

Basically if you stick to google, don't click on the advertised links right away, keep a mental list of trusted websites, keep your computer and browsers up to date, you can be pretty safe on the web.

People who don't have much computer knowledge will click on things they shouldn't. As mentioned, with most modern OS it takes user action to get an infection. So they might have been trying to download one thing, but were sent another.

Lately a few companies, Lenovo is a good example, have been caught putting adware on their base image OS they distribute with their hardware. So even best practices can't keep you 100% safe. (Theirs basically changed the sponsored links and banner ads seen in browsers to someone elses)
 

ko888

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Unprotected sex. Poor hygiene practices. Contaminated water supply.

Now if you're talking about malware then visiting sites that have been compromised, phishing, installing infected applications are some ways.
 

ko888

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Would you want your banking login credentials stolen?

Would you like having your drives encrypted and held for ransom?

Would you like having a cryptocurrency miner running up your electric bill?
 

Matthew Renna

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Jan 24, 2017
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Nah, no thanks
 

Eximo

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This is a very complex topic. You might start with Wikipedia and work your way through the various types of threats out there. Adware, Malware, Viruses, Denial of Service, Rootkits, Botnets, Worms, Spyware to name a few.

If you stick to mainstream websites you are less likely to encounter malware and viruses. It is people using search engines and venturing to lesser traveled parts of the web that are most susceptible to infection. Less traffic, less people reporting problems, and the lesser likelihood of there being a full time staff to handle such issues.

I would say the most common type of malware will come in the form of advertisements. Depending on the source of the advertisements nasty people can sneak in malicious code every once in a while. If they are one of the major ad firms, it will be quickly taken care of. However, the return vs risk is quite high. If you can slip a bad ad into an ad service for even a short period, as long as they have enough customers you might get thousands of victims. And if the end goal is something like user accounts, passwords, or credit card numbers, they can net a tidy profit quite quickly.

Enterprise/School sometimes have a hardware firewall running that prevents some types of code from passing through the network. Basically any sneaky ports or unexpected traffic not directly requested by the clients wouldn't be able to get through.

Basically if you stick to google, don't click on the advertised links right away, keep a mental list of trusted websites, keep your computer and browsers up to date, you can be pretty safe on the web.

People who don't have much computer knowledge will click on things they shouldn't. As mentioned, with most modern OS it takes user action to get an infection. So they might have been trying to download one thing, but were sent another.

Lately a few companies, Lenovo is a good example, have been caught putting adware on their base image OS they distribute with their hardware. So even best practices can't keep you 100% safe. (Theirs basically changed the sponsored links and banner ads seen in browsers to someone elses)
 

Matthew Renna

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Jan 24, 2017
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Say you practice good browsing habits, you just stick to trusted sites and stuff like that, can you still stay safe if you're on extremely outdated software?
(Reason I'm asking in my grandmother still is using a windows 95 machine to check her email and the weather, is she safe?)
 

geofelt

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It is always possible to get a virus.

The first thing to is to protect yourself with external backup so you can recover whatever you value.
Not a bad idea for fires, hardware failure or even stupid user error.

Most viruses will enter via "social engineering"
You get a legitimate looking email that includes a link that lets in malicious code.

Suppose that you get an email, purportedly from paypal.
It said that you just got credited for $23.50.
Of course, you want to find out more.
If you click on the innocuous link to paypal, you get the legitimate looking login screen where your name and password are harvested and your account is subsequently wiped out.
 

Eximo

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There is no certainty with computers, people are always working on improving their attacks. And even the big websites occasionally have problems, usually rapidly solved as I said, their customer's trust is basically their money. There can be user generated phishing attacks purposely intended to get people away from protected websites. Links to outside websites, malicious e-mails, etc.

I certainly wouldn't have a Windows 95 system on an always-on internet connection. Though I doubt many people are targeting Windows 95 these days. Hasn't been in the majority for a long long time. Doesn't mean people aren't trying though as they would be easy targets with the lack of security features contemporary OS offer.

Popular targets would be Windows XP and Windows Vista/7/(And I suppose now 8.0) installs that haven't been updated. 8.1 and up are still in full support. And given Windows penchant for turning on Defender with every major update, most Windows users will have that basic level of support.

For your Grandma, as long as you keep it simple with a basic desktop with her shortcuts to e-mail, browser and weather, you might try a Linux distribution. This would have much less exposure to common malware that targets Windows.

 

bigpinkdragon286

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Keep in mind that there's no simple cure for users doing blatantly stupid things. Had to answer a call from a family member who's email client clearly stated to them, this email appears to be a scam. They went to the link in the email anyway.
 
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