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Who cares about computer viruses !!

"Who cares !!" said my friend, "If it slows my PC down a bit, I can live with that. I'm NOT paying some PC nerd £50 / hour to remove these virus things every month !!", he continued.

We were chatting in my local the other day about computer security. There had been numerous reports of viruses, worms, spyware and other malware (Malicious Software) on the news, in fact there have been reports of these almost every week now. It has gotten so bad that a US Government agency (US-CERT) has advised against the use of Internet Explorer (IE) More here

My friend, being a typical bloke, wanted to change the subject to more bloke-like things like football and/or women. I guess he, like most people would regard his PC as just a souped-up television and would regard a virus infection as just a minor annoyance with no serious consequences. Well, here is a list of nasty things a computer virus can do :-

  1. Slow down your computer.

  2. Infect other computers on the Internet or your network.

  3. Use your PC to launch DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks on other web sites causing the owner to lose customers and money.

  4. Use your PC to send out yet more spam.

  5. Transmit your personal details held on your PC to hackers to use in identity theft. They can then use your details to take out loans in YOUR name.

  6. Keystroke logging to discover your passwords and use those to access your bank account.

  7. Use your PC to host child pornography web-sites. Could you explain how those evil photos got on your PC to your wife or the police ?

If that does not make you worried, it should. Many ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are becoming under pressure to block infected computers from their networks until they have been 'cleansed'.

Back in the pub. ".. and in any case, I haven't got any money for these hackers to steal anyway !!", he finished, completely missing the point. I tried to explain to him that if someone stole his identity, they could get many loans in HIS name and go on a massive shopping spree " he might not have much money but, he would have even less by the time the banks could close his account. And there is a real possibility that his credit rating would permanently damaged.

Take care out there

(C) 2004 Peter Blue

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