Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Computer Viruses for all Tastes

If you have a computer, you probably have already experienced what it is like to have a computer virus make your life miserable or to lose valuable information because of an electronic bug. Sorry for bringing back those bad memories you wanted to forget! But as long as we use computers, we are at risk of getting a virus anytime, which is something we need to always be aware of and be vigilant about.

Despite the headaches computer viruses can cause, there are some recent bugs that will make you chuckle and forget for a little while the problems they are creating in your system; here are some examples:

  • “Harry Potter” virus or Samal A: even though this virus doesn’t have any relation with Harry Potter in any way, once your computer is infected there is a pop up window that says “You haven’t said the magic word” after multiple attempts typing different words, another window will open saying something like “Samael has come, this is the end”

  • Ramsom K: who created this virus was a novice in the area of computer viruses but his idea was pretty interesting. This virus will block important files on your computer and it will ask you to pay $100 to unblock them. The problem for its creator is that this virus is very easy to clean. So it doesn’t represent a real threat.

  • Whizz.A: this virus pretty much transforms your computer into a discotheque. It decorates the background of your desktop with different colors while windows with advertising start popping up and some music from different radio stations plays in the background. Call that an entertainment center!

  • OSX.Loosemaque: this virus appears to be a simple computer game. Your goal is to kill some aliens in space. The problem: every alien is linked to a random folder on your computer, every time you kill an alien, that folder will be deleted. What is scary is that people play this “game” even when they know their risk of damaging their computer system. Yikes!!!

  • Newton virus for Macs: the company Troyka released a while ago a virus for Macs that will break the menu bar in half and all the icons in the desktop fall to the bottom of the screen as if they are affected by gravity. If you move your infected laptop and put it upside down, the pieces of menu bar and all the icons will fall to the bottom of the screen depending how are you holding your computer. It actually looks pretty neat! Some people on electronic forums wondered how to get the virus to see it in action.
If you want to stay up to date not only about viruses but computers in general, remember that the Faulk Central Library subscribes to the following magazines: Computerworld, Eweek, Geek Monthly, Government Technology, Macworld, PC World Mexico, and Wired.

Some titles about this topic that might interest you are:

Bug-free computing : stop viruses, squash worms, and smash Trojan horses

The art of computer virus research and defense

PC magazine fighting spyware, viruses, and malware

Buffer overflow attacks [electronic resource]: detect, exploit, prevent (To access it remotely, please have your library card number handy)

Finally, just a word of advice: keep your antivirus software up to date and go to your antivirus provider’s website to look for more information about virus threats periodically.

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