Defining a Computer Virus

Admin   December 31, 2015   Comments Off on Defining a Computer Virus

The information technology market has many threats with one of the main threats being viruses and worms. Worms and viruses have been known as one of the hackers’ best tools to steal information from unsuspecting persons of interest.

Think of a biological virus – the kind that makes you sick. It is persistently nasty, keeps you from functioning normally and often requires something powerful to get rid of it. A computer virus is very similar. Designed to replicate relentlessly, computer viruses infect your programs and files, alter the way your computer operates or stop it from working altogether. It is estimated that the Conficker virus infected more than 10 million computers in 2009. Tens of thousands of computer viruses now operate over the Internet, and new computer viruses are discovered every day.

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The internet is the ideal hub for computer viruses where unsuspecting users become daily victims. The following are some subclasses of worms and viruses;

Classifications of Worms

  • Email-Worm
  • IM-Worm
  • IRC-Worm
  • Net-Worm
  • P2P-Worm

Classifications of Viruses

1. Macro Viruses

These viruses infect the files created using some applications or programs that contain macros such as doc, ppt, xls and mdb. They automatically infect the files with macros and also templates and documents that are contained in the file. They hide in documents shared through e-mail and networks.

Macro viruses include:

  • Relax
  • Bablas
  • Melissa.A
  • 097M/Y2K

2.Memory Resident Viruses

They usually fix themselves inside the computer memory. They are activated every time the OS runs and end up infecting other opened files. They hide in RAM.

Memory Resident Viruses Include:

  • CMJ
  • meve
  • randex
  • MRK lunky

3.Overwrite Viruses

These types of viruses delete any information in a file they infect, leaving them partially or completely useless once they are infected. Once in the computer, they replace all the file content but the file size does not change.

Overwrite Viruses Include:

  • Trj.Reboot
  • way
  • trivial.88.D

4.Direct Action Viruses

These viruses mainly replicate or take action once they are executed. When a particular condition is met, the viruses will act by infecting the files in the directory or the folder specified in the AUTOEXEC.BAT. The viruses are generally found in the hard disk’s root directory, but they keep on changing location.

Direct Action Viruses Include:

  • Vienna virus

5.Directory Virus

Also known as cluster virus or file system virus. They infect the computer’s directory by changing the path indicating file location. They are usually located on the disk but affect the entire directory.

Directory Viruses Include:

  • dir-2 virus

6.Web Scripting Virus

Most web pages include some complex codes in order to create an interactive and interesting content. Such a code is often exploited to cause certain undesirable actions. They mostly originate from the infected web pages or browsers.

Web Scripting Viruses Include:

  • JS.Fortnight – a virus that spreads via malicious emails.

7.Multipartite Virus

These type of viruses spread in many different ways. Their actions vary depending on the OS installed and the presence of certain files. They tend to hide in the computer’s memory but do not infect the hard disk.

Multipartite Viruses Include:

8.FAT Viruses

These lardy viruses attack the file allocation table (FAT) which is the disc part used to store every information about the available space, location of files, unusable space, etc.

FAT Viruses Include:

  • the link virus

9.Companion Viruses

These types of viruses infect files just like the direct action and the resident types. Once inside the computer, they ‘accompany’ other existing files.

Companion Viruses Include:

  • Asimov.1539
  • stator and terrax.1069

10.Polymorphic Virus

They encode or encrypt themselves in a different way every time they infect your computer. They use different encryption and algorithms. This makes it difficult for the antivirus software to locate them using signature or string searches (since they are very different in each encryption).

Polymorphic Viruses Include:

  • Marburg
  • Tuareg
  • Satan bug
  • elkern


Trojans can illegally trace important login details of users online. For example, E-Banking is very common among users, therefore, the vulnerability of tracing your login details whenever your PC is working without any strong, powerful antivirus installed.

12.Email Virus

This is a virus spread via an email. Such a virus will hide in an email and when the recipient opens the mail.

13.Browser Hijacker

This virus can spread in many different ways including a voluntary download. If infects certain browser functions especially in the form of re-directing the user automatically to certain sites. A good example is

Browser Hijackers Include:

  • the cool web search

14.Boot Infectors


They include the boot sector plus master boot record types. All the viral codes can be separate location; however they infect the hard disks or the floppy.

Boot Infectors Include:

  • The brain virus -it is the very first wild virus to be created.

From what we have seen, the many types of computer viruses and their effects are very harmful and can completely damage your system. Always make sure your system is up to date. Also, install antivirus software. The antivirus program protects your computer and the personal information in it.

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Some of the most common worms are email virus and Trojans. The viruses and worms are spread mainly in the following ways;

  • Files sent as email attachments
  • Via a link to a web or FTP resource
  • Via a link sent in an ICQ or IRC message
  • Via P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing networks
  • Some worms are spread as network packets. These directly penetrate the computer memory, and the worm code is then activated.
  • Computer worms can exploit network configuration errors (for example, to copy themselves onto a fully accessible disk) or exploit loopholes in the operating system and application security. Many worms will use more than one method in order to spread copies via networks.

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Computer worms and viruses are known to exploit network configuration errors or other loopholes in the operation system and even the applications safety. You may be wondering what the virus does after it infects the system; the following is a clear explanation;

Some computer viruses are programmed to harm your computer by damaging programs, deleting files, or reformatting the hard drive. Others simply replicate themselves or flood a network with traffic, making it impossible to perform any internet activity. Even less harmful computer viruses can significantly disrupt your system’s performance, sapping computer memory and causing frequent computer crashes.

The computer virus may harm your computer, damage programs, reformat your drive, or delete files. Your computer may be infected if you recognize any of these malware symptoms:

  • Slow computer performance
  • Erratic computer behavior
  • Unexplained data loss
  • Frequent computer crashes

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The most ideal symptoms that you may have malware issues is the slow computer performance and unexplained data loss. Luckily, there is a vast range of solutions and preventive measures to protect your system, they include;

  • Use antivirus protection and a firewall
  • Get antispyware software
  • Always keep your antivirus protection and antispyware software up-to-date
  • Update your operating system regularly
  • Increase your browser security settings
  • Avoid questionable Web sites
  • Only download software from sites you trust. Carefully evaluate free software and file-sharing applications before downloading them.

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What are Computer Crimes?

Admin   December 31, 2015   Comments Off on What are Computer Crimes?

In the last decade, there has been much talk about internet crimes with the increasing cases of hacks, leaks, and online information thefts. Computer crimes are inclusive of various types of criminal acts that take place using a computer system.

Computer crimes are criminal activities, which involve the use of information technology to gain an illegal or unauthorized access to a computer system with the intent of damaging, deleting, or altering computer data. Computer crimes also include activities such as electronic frauds, misuse of devices, identity theft, and data as well as system interference. These crimes may not necessarily involve damage to physical property. They rather include the manipulation of confidential data and critical information. They include activities like software theft, wherein the privacy of users is hampered. These criminal activities involve the breach of human and information privacy, as the theft and illegal alteration of system-critical information.

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The criminal or cyber crimes infringe on human and information privacy, steal, as well as, alter critical information illegally. The following are the types of cyber crimes that exist at the moment;


Hacking is one of the most well-known types of computer crime. In this context, the term refers to the unauthorized access of another’s computer system. These intrusions are often conducted in order to launch malicious programs known as viruses, worms, and Trojan Horses that can shut down or destroy an entire computer network. Hacking is also carried out as a way to take credit card numbers, internet passwords, and other personal information. By accessing commercial databases, hackers can steal these types of items from millions of internet users all at once.

2.Internet Piracy

Internet piracy is another common offense. Piracy involves the dissemination of copyrighted material without permission of the owner. Beginning in the early 1990s, music sharing websites became extremely popular, many of them operating in violation of the law. Movies, video games, e-books, and software are now pirated over the internet as well. Estimates by the entertainment industry put the annual cost of internet piracy in the billions of dollars, although there is evidence the scope of the economic impact has been overstated by the industry in an effort to persuade Congress to pass further regulations.

3.Cyber Terrorism

Cyber terrorism is a relatively new phenomenon. These crimes involve politically motivated attacks to targets such as government websites or commercial networks. Such attacks are designed to be large in scale, and to produce fear and panic among the victim population. With financial markets now trading over the internet and so many other transactions taking place online, the danger of cyber terrorism has received a great deal of attention. However, actual instances of this type of crime are rare.

4.Identity Theft and Other Frauds


The problem of identity theft existed before the development of the internet. Nevertheless, these crimes often involve the use of a computer, as offenders trick online shoppers and other web users into disclosing social security numbers, bank account and credit card information, home addresses, and more. A common scheme is known as “email phishing.” It is accomplished by sending victims an email containing a link to a website that the victims use regularly. The email asks victims to update their account information on the website, but when victims click on the link within the email, they are taken to a copycat website that secretly captures the information they enter.

5.Online Stalking, Bullying, and Sex Crimes

Some of the most serious computer crimes have nothing to do with making money, achieving political objectives, or showing off a hacker’s skills. Instead, they are designed to cause emotional trauma to the victim. Social media websites provide offenders with the ability to publish hurtful or embarrassing material as a way of inflicting harm on others. Once photographs or other items are posted and circulated online, they can be impossible for the victim to remove. The fallout from these kinds of activities is especially devastating for school age children, who tend to be more sensitive to social harassment.

Some sexual offenses are also committed using computers. The trafficking of child pornography is one example. Federal and state authorities prosecute these cases vigorously, with convicted offenders often being sentenced to decades of incarceration. Law enforcement also devotes substantial resources to catching online predators who attempt to solicit underage victims for purposes of sex. These criminals are often discovered frequenting internet chat rooms, where they pose as young people in order to lure minor victims into romantic encounters.

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Phishing is the act of attempting to acquire sensitive information like usernames, passwords, and credit card details by disguising as a trustworthy source. Phishing is carried out through emails or by luring the users to enter personal information through fake websites. Criminals often use websites that have a look and feel of some popular website, which makes the users feel safe to enter their details there.

7.Computer Viruses

Computer viruses are computer programs that can replicate themselves and harm the computer systems on a network without the knowledge of system users. Viruses spread to other computers through the network file system, the network, the internet, or by the means of removable devices like USB drives and CDs. Computer viruses are forms of malicious codes written with an aim to harm a computer system and destroy information. Writing computer viruses is a criminal activity as virus infections can crash computer systems, thereby destroying enormous amounts of critical data.

8.Cyber Stalking

The use of communication technology, mainly the Internet, to torture individuals is known as cyber stalking. False accusations, transmission of threats, and damage to data and equipment fall under the class of cyberstalking activities. Cyber stalkers often target the users using chat rooms, online forums, and social networking websites to gather user information and harass users on the basis of the information gathered. Obscene emails, abusive phone calls, and other such serious effects of cyber stalking have made it a type of computer crime.

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Tips on Better Social Media Security

Admin   December 31, 2015   Comments Off on Tips on Better Social Media Security

The internet has introduced many platforms of communications virtually such as the many social media platforms. The problem is that social media is vulnerable to hacks and other cyber crimes; mainly necessitated by over sharing that many people are guilty of in many sites.

We share a wealth of information about ourselves on our social media platforms. We snap perfectly posed selfies, check in at happy hours, tweet at our friends, and announce the arrival of bouncing new babies. The benefits and joys of social media are numerous, but there are privacy risks to consider as well. Social media users tend to over share life details in order to feel connected to friends, family, and coworkers. However, these private details can be used maliciously by cyber thieves to access sensitive accounts, create fraudulent identities, and compromise careers.

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The risks of oversharing on social media is a real one as these life details can be used maliciously to access sensitive information and create fraudulent identities. The following is a list of the most common over shares on the internet;

  • Photos and other media
  • Age and gender
  • Biographical information (education, employment history, hometown, etc.)
  • Status updates (also known as posts)
  • Contacts
  • Interests
  • Geographical location

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Some of the information that is overshared on social media include contacts, age, and geographical location. This information becomes public in a variety of ways:

  • A user may choose to post information as “public” (without restricting access via available privacy settings).
  • Certain information may be publicly visible by default. In some situations, a user may be able to change the privacy settings to make the information “private” — so that only approved users can view it. Other information must remain public; the user does not have an option to restrict access to it.
  • A social network can change its privacy policy at any time without a user’s permission. Content that was posted with restrictive privacy settings may become visible when a privacy policy is altered.
  • Approved contacts may copy and repost information – including photos – without a user’s permission, potentially bypassing privacy settings.
  • Third-party applications that have been granted access may be able to view information that a user or a user’s contacts post privately.
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      Currently, there are a lot of games and applications that require to be granted access to view the user’s information, interests, and contacts. Here are some things and general information that you can do to minimize the risks;

      1.Use a strong password different from the passwords you use to access other sites.

      2.If you were asked to provide security questions, use information that, others would not know about you.

      3.Never provide a work-associated email to a social network, especially when signing up. Consider creating a new email address strictly to connect with your social networking profile(s).

      4.Consider not using your real name, especially your last name. Be aware that this may violate the terms of service of some social networks.

      5.Review the privacy policy and terms of service before signing up for an account.

      6.Be sure to keep strong antivirus and spyware protection on your computer.

      7.Provide only information that is necessary or that you feel comfortable providing. When in doubt, err on the side of providing less information. Remember, you can always provide more information to a social network, but you cannot always remove information once it has been posted.

      8.During the registration process, social networks often solicit a new user to provide an email account password so the social network can access the user’s email address book. The social network promises to connect the new user with others they may already know on the network. To be safe, do not provide this information at all. There are some social networks that capture all of a user’s email contacts and then solicit them – often repeatedly – to join. These messages may even appear to be from the original user. If you consider providing an email address and account password to a social network, read all agreements very carefully before clicking on them.

      General Tips for Using Social Networks

      1.Become familiar with the privacy settings available on any social network you use. On Facebook, make sure that your default privacy setting is “Friends only”. Alternatively, use the “Custom” setting and configure the setting to achieve maximum privacy.

      2.Do not share your birthday, age, or place of birth. This information could be useful to identity thieves and to data mining companies. A research study by Carnegie Mellon University found that Social Security numbers can be predicted based on publicly available information, including your birthday, age and place of birth. The Social Security Administration began assigning randomized number series on June 25, 2011. Unfortunately, the more predictable Social Security numbers will remain in effect for individuals born before June 25, 2011. If you do consider posting your birthday, age or place of birth, restrict who has access to this information using the site’s privacy settings. In addition, some social networking sites allow you to show your birth month and day but hide the year.

      3.Stay aware of changes to a social network’s terms of service and privacy policy. You may be able to keep track of this by connecting to an official site profile, for example, Facebook’s Site Governance. Consider subscribing to an RSS feed for Tosback, a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation to track changes in website policies (covers some but not all social networks).

      4.Be careful when you click on shortened links. Consider using a URL expander (as an application added to your browser or a website you visit) to examine short URLs before clicking on them. Example of URL expanders include Long URL, Clybs URL Expander and Long URL Please (Privacy Rights Clearinghouse does not endorse one URL expander over another.)

      5.Be very cautious of pop-up windows, especially any that state your security software is out of date or that security threats and/or viruses have been detected on your computer. Use your task manager to navigate away from these without clicking on them, and then run your spyware and virus protection software.

      6.Delete cookies every time you leave a social networking site. See PRC Fact Sheet 18: Privacy and the Internet.

      7.Remember that whatever goes on a network might eventually be seen by people, not in the intended audience. Think about whether you would want a stranger, your mother or a potential boss to see certain information or pictures. Unless they are glowing, do not post opinions about your company, clients, products, and services. Be especially cautious about photos of you on social networks, even if someone else placed them there. Do not be afraid to untag photos of yourself and ask to have content removed.

      8.Do not publicize vacation plans, especially the dates you will be traveling. Burglars can use this information to rob your house while you are out of town.

      9.If you use a location-aware social network, do not make public where your home is because people will know when you are not there. (See Please Rob Me – Raising Awareness about Oversharing) In fact, you should be careful when posting any sort of location or using geotagging features because criminals may use it to secretly track your location. For the same reason, be careful not to share your daily routine. Posting about walking to work, where you go on your lunch break, or when you head home is risky because it may allow a criminal to track you.

      10.Be aware that your full birth date, especially the year, may be useful to identity thieves. Do not post it, or at a minimum restrict who has access to it.

      11.Do not post your address, phone number or email address on a social network. Remember scam artists as well as marketing companies may be looking for this kind of information. If you do choose to post any portion of this, use privacy settings to restrict it to approved contacts.

      12.Use caution when using third-party applications. For the highest level of safety and privacy, avoid them altogether. If you consider using one, review the privacy policy and terms of service for the application.

      13.If you receive a request to connect with someone and recognize the name, verify the account holder’s identity before accepting the request. Consider calling the individual, sending an email to his or her personal account or even asking a question only your contact would be able to answer.

      14.If you receive a connection request from a stranger, the safest thing to do is to reject the offer. If you decide to accept the request, use privacy settings to limit what information is viewable to the stranger and be cautious of posting personal information to your account, such as your current location as well as personally identifiable information.

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