Er. Ankush Bhardwaj
Through the course of using computer and internet, you might have come into contact with certain malicious program that perform some type of harmful activity like: Stealing Hard Disk Space, CPU time, access to private information, corrupting data, spamming the contacts etc. That malicious program is very well known to us by the name of computer Virus, Email Virus, Trojan Horses and Worms.
Where a Virus may or may not attach itself to a program like Spreadsheet for its execution, email viruses travel as an attachment to email messages and starts replicating itself by automatically mailing itself to all the contacts in the victim’s email address book. Certain email viruses don’t even require any click by you. They launch as we view the infected message. Worm uses computer networks and security holes to replicate itself. Where ever it finds a security hole, it copies itself to the new machines and starts replicating from there. Trojan is considered to be the most dangerous as it may erase all the data from the hard disk.
In January 2004, Mydoom Worm infected approximately a quarter-million computers in a single day. In March 1999, Mewlissa Virus forced Microsoft and a number of large companies to turn off their email systems. Another Virus named ILOVEYOU had a similar devastating effect in 2000. Recently in 2012, Microsoft reported that “some components of the malware have been signed by certificate that allow software to appear as if it was produced by Microsoft”. Recently a top investigating team (PBI) arrested a man for child pornography, but when they investigated his computer, it turned out that a computer virus had been downloading the image using his account.
Computer Security has become the matter of concern for everyone as no one compromises with the data storage is the only thing for which the whole machine is invented.
Here in this article, I am sharing certain tips that can help all of us to make our computer system secure:
Use Top Anti-Virus Software: Today, a lot of anti-virus programs (software) are present in the market, but they are not all created equal. In order to catch viruses before they infect your computer, anti-virus software needs to know what the virus looks like-this is called the virus’s signature. It takes a professional security researcher to find virus-signatures and some companies that sell generic anti-virus software can’t afford to hire enough security researchers to cover all viruses. Only the top anti-virus companies and those that rely on volunteers have the resources necessary to identify the most recent viruses.
Use a Firewall: When other computers try to connect to your computer, it’s the job of your operating system-Microsoft Windows-to handle the connection attempts. But Windows has security flaws. Microsoft tries to fix these flaws as fast as possible, but every time a new flaw appears, hackers can use it to break into your computer. A firewall changes that. A firewall sits between the internet and your computer, monitoring the traffic going between them. It looks at every incoming internet connection to see if you requested it. If you did request it, the firewall lets the connection through. But if you didn’t request it, the firewall blocks it. Blocking connections you didn’t ask for is simple and takes up only a tiny bit of your computer’s processing power, yet it provides an incredible amount of security, so I highly recommend a firewall for all users everywhere.
Use a Router: Routers let several computers share one Internet Connection, but do you know how they do it. Every time your computer tries to connect to a computer on the Internet through your router, your router adds that connection to its list of open connection. When the other computer on the Internet responds, your router then needs to figure out which computer it’s responding to. So your router looks at its list and matches the connection to your computer. And in case, a computer on the Internet tries to connect to you without your knowledge, the router simply ignores the attempt as that connection is not in its list. Here, your router acts like an extra firewall.Routers are dumb,which makes them hard to hack.Even if a hacker finds a fault in your firewall, he/she still needs to get past your dumb router that ultimately increases your security.
Run a Free Port Scan: The problem with firewall and router is that we can’t see them working and thus it’s very difficult to rely on them. A free port scan won’t run any hacker exploit, but it will see if you re vulnerable. There is nothing to instll on your computer the port scan need to be run from other computer on the internet.
Investigte the Problem: No doubt, the anti-virus compnies are trying their best to track down the viruses and so as the hackers trying very hard to hide their codes. They usually try to hide their code in essential part of the Windows (The Operating System), which can cause many weird problems. If you start to see such weird problem that you can’t explain very easily, then take some time to investigate it or seek help of some professionals. It’s a bother, but most viruses make way for other viruses to install themselves that can lead to hacking of your financial and other accounts. You can also make a search of the symptoms in Google and reading the top most results.
Check CPU Usage and running programs: Just like anyother software, virus is also a program (a set of instructions) and thus need CPU to run. Try toopen Task Manager (Press Ctrl +Alt+Del), and see the amount of CPU usage of each program. Make a search of the program at Google which is taking up to 80 percent of CPU and you don’t recognise the program. The top results on Google will tell you whether it’s a virus or a legitimate program. This method isn’t foolproof but this will catch many backdoor viruses. Some viruses don’t require much CPU-like those viruses that use your computer to send spam email. To detect those viruses, you can use the same method. Open the Task Manager and check the program list. There, look out for the suspicious names or names you don’t recognise. And in case, you find any suspicious program use the End Program or End Task Button to kill it immediately. Then, try to find out the suspicious file and place it in Recycle Bin so it doesn’t auto start the next time you reboot your system.
Restrict Administrator Access: One of the key feature of Windows is that installing of software is so easy that people not familiar with computer can also install it very well. But it also increases the risk level of your system as any uninformed user/hacker can install any program on your system. So, for household and small businesses where people share computers, one should have administrator access to install the new programs. It also applies when there are several adults at home.
Internet software should be updated regularly: All complicated software have bugs especially the internet software. These bugs are grave security risks. Luckily, most software companies find out about their bugs before hackers can exploit them and so they publish their patches regularly on the Internet. So, one should regularly update their software. Moreover, updating the software is not so complicated now a days. Try to check for updates once in a week.
Make regular backups: When a software gets on your computer, it often tries to replicate itself or even tries to copy itself into other programs or your documents. Backups can’t save you from the viruses, but it can save your data which ultimately is the most important thing.
It is essential that you never open email attachments unless you know who it’s from and you are expecting it. To avoid computer viruses, it is essential to keep our computer current with the latest updates and antivirus tools. Stay informed about the recent threats, run your computer from the general accounts and not from the Administrator. Computer viruses also spread through downloads, so be sure about the site from where you are downloading the software, audios, videos or any other file.