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IRC Information.....

Trojan, Virus, and Worm Information

Trojans, Viruses, Worms have become the scare of the year, and with good reason. Many of the recent files are malicious in nature, causing the infected user at the very worst, to lose everything on their computer -- and facing the 'fix' of formatting the harddrive(s) and starting over.

Trojans, Viruses, and Worms -- they are not all the same   (top)

Trojans - files carrying hidden malicious payloads

A Trojan refers to a program that appears as something you may think is safe, but hidden inside is usually something harmful, probably a worm or a virus. The lure of Trojans is that you may download a game or a picture, thinking it's harmless, but once you execute this file (run it), the worm or virus gets to work. Sometimes they will only do things to annoy you, but usually a worm or virus will cause damage to your system.

Viruses - computer programs designed to cause trouble to your computer

Viruses are computer programs with the sole purpose of destroying data on our computers. The virus may only destroy unimportant files, or it may decide to erase all of your document files. A virus can cause an infected computer to do funny things on certain dates, as well as issue serious commands such as erasing our Registry file, thus disabling the operation and booting up of our computers.

Viruses are spread through executable files we either get from friends, download off the net, or install through a floppy disk. A virus will often come disguised under the cloak of a Trojan, which is the carrier for the virus.

Worms - actively replicate themselves

Worms operate differently. Do you remember the Star Trek show called 'The Trouble with Tribbles'? (Star-Trek fans, if I've remembered the name wrong, please correct me). These little creatures just kept replicating themselves, each one multiplying themselves over and over. Worms act much the same way.

Worms generally come through our email client, but people can also get infected if they accept a Trojan File which has as the payload a worm. If you receive a worm program through your email, and then execute it, this program sends the worm file out to all that are listed in your email address book. If you work in a major corporation, this could means hundreds of people, and so the multiplying continues.

Recently we all witnessed the world-wide problems of the "Love bug". That is a perfect example of all of the above. (yes!) It's a Trojan because it came disguised as a 'Love Letter' when really it was carrying a harmful program. It is a virus because once executed, it infected files on your computer, turning them into new trojans. It's a worm because it propogated itself by sending itself out to everyone listed in your email address book or IRC client.

This is reality -- bad things are out there, disguised as good things....and we must use our computers safely and wisely.

The Best Defense   (top)

  • Never accept files from anyone you don't know
  • When downloading files off the Internet, be sure it's from a reputable site.
  • Never run or even peek at files you receive through your email program from people you don't know. If you have any doubts at all, write the person back, and ask for verification that they sent you a file. Some of the more recent viruses will send mail (and file) to everyone listed in your email address book, then it deletes itself and you have no idea of what happened. Scary, huh?
  • Install a Virus Detection program -- you can find some free antivirus programs here, Wilders - Free Tools. I use Inoculate, but have tried many others, and while no program is foolproof 100% of the time (due to the complexity of new viruses appearing everyday), even a freebie program is worth your time to install something you should consider as soon as possible.
  • Set yourself up a regular time to update the virus scans, and do it -- if we don't keep our computers up-to-date on the latest technologies, then we are leaving ourselves vulnerable. With over 200 new viruses being reported each month, tomorrow is not the time to update...but TODAY.
  • One more important step is to backup your important files regularly.
    Better safe than sorry!

If you'd like to read more about Trojans and Viruses, check here for more resource links. You may also wish to download a file that describes in more detail various viruses and trojans. It's called Virus Help. Get it here.

Infection and What to Do   (top)

If you have become infected and need to repair your computer, you have several choices:

  1. One of your choices is to download a program called The Cleaner. You can use the program free for 30 days (good deal!). After that time, registration is required at a cost of about $30 (US). This price includes free future updates of the program as well.

    Important Note: Be sure to download the cleaner file from the author's site, and DO NOT accept a file from a stranger. Recently a nasty virus was found to be hidden inside a fake cleaner program. Remember, 'you' are your best security agent. Be safe, be careful, and be smart.

  2. Another option is to visit this website, http://www.nohack.net, for more information about being infected. Find the information describing your infection and follow their steps listed for removing harmful trojans, worms, and viruses. Some programs are not totally removable through these steps, and that's where The Cleaner can benefit you as it will remove all traces of infection.

  3. Trend Micro, the makers of PC-cillin (an antivirus program, and one that I use) offers free online assistance. You may wish to visit their site and let their system scan your computer. Visit Trend Micro's Housecall for this free evaluation. You can buy their product from this site, or you can find this antivirus program in many of the larger software outlets.

E-Mail Virus Hoaxes   (top)

There will always be newbies on the net, so there will always be a market for spreading the news about E-mail virus hoaxes. This is when someone forwards on a letter which often makes claims that if you receive a mail titled something similar to "Win a Holiday Cruise", and open it, your harddrive will be erased (or some other such dire warning). While we can never be too careful, we have to be cautious to not be too gullible as well :) If you have any doubts about whether or not a warning you receive may be true or false, visit Symantec's Antivirus Research Center Virus Hoax site. They list (and describe) over 80 of the most prevalent virus hoaxes circulating worldwide.

This site isn't completed yet -- we will have much more information here soon describing in more detail viruses, worms, trojans, etc.

 


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