The threat of computer viruses

The most significant threat to your security is a virus that you may not even know is infecting your system. Even if you feel that your anti-virus has secured your computer, there are many viruses that are designed to disable the anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Other viruses are so infectious that there is no easy way to remove them without an expert’s help.

Many years ago viruses were written by teenagers in their parents’ basements. Nowadays viruses are written by criminal groups with the intent to exploit their victims.

Viruses: Risks of Infection

  1. Turning your system in to a spam relay that sends advertisements, viruses or both to others. This adds a revenue stream to the criminals. It also potentially exposes you to any liability, such as termination of Internet service or fines.

  2. Showing pop-up ads and corrupting Internet searches. This allows the criminal groups to profit from your misery because each ad shown makes them money.

  3. Stealing your personal information such as keystrokes, passwords, documents, access to bank web sites, files from TurboTax, Quickbooks and Money. This information is used to drain bank accounts, open new credit lines and hijack identities.

Viruses will always attempt to spread themselves to other systems as well. Your contacts in your e-mail client are at risk, as are external hard drives, flash drives, network shared drives and other computers that share the same network. Viruses may also try to spread over your Internet connection potentially creating additional liabilities.

If you find yourself infected, your first step is to clean your system completely. If you can’t do so on your own, you should always call a professional. Envescent offers expert anti-virus and anti-spyware services and powerful proprietary system cleaning techniques that offer our customers an unparalleled level of security.

The second step is to attempt to assess the level of compromise. You should always assume the worst in the case of any virus infection. Usually if there is any sign of infection there are many others that you may not even see.

We recommend checking your credit immediately and examining your bank accounts, credit cards and other credit lines for suspicious activity on a regular basis. We also encourage creating passwords with any institutions so that in order to make any changes, create or shut down accounts the password must be given first.

The third step is to make sure that you aren’t infected by another virus. Viruses can come from so many sources that this can be a complex task. Don’t use flash drives at home and work. Always be careful which web sites, e-mails and messages you open.

We advise that you have a firewall installed at your Internet connection (such as Linksys router) and one on your system (for many users the Windows Firewall is OK).

Keep your operating system updated. Use strong passwords with all your accounts.

Install high quality anti-virus and anti-spyware protection. Scan for viruses and back up important data often. Piracy is a large source of viruses, so don’t take unnecessary risks. Always purchase licensed software and music. If you run in to trouble, give us a call at 703-486-0200 or visit our anti-virus page at