What is a Virus?
A virus is a piece of code or program that typically attaches itself to some known or trusted program on your system and is executed when the trusted program runs. If that trusted program is run with Administrative privileges (as are ALL Windows programs), you’re in for trouble. The damage that a virus can do can range from very minor to catastrophic, i.e. deleting system files or important data. Viruses are normally not self-replicating, meaning they cannot infect other systems without being attached to a worm or being manually carried from system to system on removable media.
What is a Worm?
A worm is a program or piece of code attached to a trusted program that tries to copy itself over a network or the Internet and imbed itself into other unsuspecting user’s systems. The famous Morris worm used a bug in an email server program to copy itself all over the Internet. The biggest danger with worms is they can carry a dangerous payload such as a damaging virus or a Trojan horse.
What is a Trojan?
A Trojan horse is a program that allows a hacker a back way into your system and has usually been planted in an innocuous place that may be hard to find. These are almost always transported across the Internet. Many times a hacker may want to get back into a computer after it has been previously compromised. One way to do that is to place a Trojan horse program somewhere on the system that allows access again if the main way is blocked or if other changes have been made that prevent them from breaking in the same way they came in before. Trojans can also be set to steal passwords, financial data, credit card numbers, etc. and email them to the hacker. Even worse, a Trojan program can be used to make your computer participate in attempts to illegally crack into other companies’ systems without your knowledge. Basically a Trojan program is a computer user’s worst nightmare.
If you suspect that some piece of software has a virus or worm—don’t run it on a system that is connected to other computers or to the Internet. Isolate a test system to do testing and be very careful what you put out on the network. It may try to infect other systems. If you suspect that there may be a Trojan horse program on your computer, do not use it until you have run an updated antivirus scanner or other program which is designed to find Trojans.
Are you comfortable with the level of data security and antivirus/antispam protection that you have? How sure are you that your computer contains NO viruses, worms, or Trojans right now?
Do you have an Internet connection, or do you use email on the same computer or network that your financial data is on? Do you use a firewall to prevent someone on the outside from stealing your data?
For more information on protecting your I.T. systems from the "Goblins" seeking to invade, destroy, and overpower your data, contact Honegger, Ringger & Co.’s Business Solutions department. We can get you started down the road to security.