We've had a few very nasty PC infections lately and I thought it would be good to go over some important information about how to prevent an infection on your PC.
SCLS' Antivirus software vs fake AV programs
The first thing to discuss is the antivirus software that SCLS uses on your staff and patron PCs. It is called Sophos and on staff PCs this software is updated multiple times a day. On patron PCs this software is updated during the nightly updates. If you ever see anything on the screen that says that your PC is infected and it is not coming from Sophos then you have a rogue security software program. It tries to make you think that your computer is infected by a virus and usually prompts you to download or buy a product that removes the virus. The names of these products frequently contain words like Antivirus, Shield, Security, Protection, or Fixer. This makes them sound legitimate. They frequently run right after you download them, or the next time that your computer starts. Rogue security software can prevent applications, such as Sophos or Task Manager, from opening or even running. Rogue security software might also display legitimate and important Windows files as infections. Typical error messages or pop-up messages might contain phrases like "Warning! Your computer is infected!" or "This computer is infected by spyware and adware." We previously wrote about this kind of popup in the article entitled "Poisonous Popups Redux" . The very best thing to do when you see this "Fake Antivirus Popup" is to not touch the PC and immediately call the Help Desk.
How do you get these viral nasties?
Now on to how you get these viral nasties. One way is by surfing the Internet and accidentally going to a site that has been hacked and has viruses hidden in the advertisements on the webpage. It is also possible to hide malware in pictures that people download. I've had quite a few people call me and say I was just looking for some pictures when I got a message that my PC was infected. So please exercise caution when going to sites and downloading anything. Ensure that the source is a legitimate and reputable one. Another way to get a viral nasty is via an email that says please "click this link to get" and then something that sounds really important or "please see attachment." One of the most common emails that gets everybody is the one that is called the Package Delivery Virus. This is where some delivery service, e.g. UPS, FedEx or DHL, say that a package could not be delivered so open an attachment or click a link to get a receipt.
How to prevent virus infections
•If the English in an email doesn't have complete sentences or is broken English then do not open any attached files or click on any links found in the email.
•Do not open any attached files or click on any links found in an email from an unknown, suspicious or untrustworthy source.
•If an email appears to come from a friend, someone you know or a business that you use, confirm that your contact really sent the email. Some viruses can replicate themselves and spread through email.
•Do not open any files attached to an email if the subject line is questionable or unexpected.
•When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and do not open, download, or execute any files or email attachments. Not executing is the most important.
In summary: It is always better to be safe than to spread a virus to everyone that you know, bring down the network for the entirety of SCLS, or permanently lose your data.