CNET reports that a new computer worm virus is spreading through emails and infecting computer security software. McAfee, a computer security company, says that the virus comes in emails with the subject line “Here you have” or “just for you.” The virus is used to extract passwords saved on internet browsers and other sensitive information. Large companies such as Google, NASA, and ABC/Disney have been hit. Protecting your vital information is important and computer users should take steps to protect their systems. The virus can also be spread through remote machines and removable media such as flash drives.
In 2000, the ILOVEYOU worm shut down Britain’s House of Commons and the U.S. Senate internet servers according to Massachusetts attorney Dr. Ronald B. Standler. The worm deleted programs on the user’s hard drive under the guise of a love letter attachment. Passwords were also stolen and it costs computer users upwards of nine billion dollars and was touted as the most destructive computer virus in history.
The ILOVEYOU virus was doubly vicious. It copied address book information in Microsoft Outlook and transmitted the email automatically to those email addresses as well. If you were unfortunate to click on the link your computer and possibly everyone you had as a contact could have been contaminated.
There are several things you can do to beef up your computer’s security according to Microsoft. If you see a suspicious email you should instantly delete it and not open it whatsoever. Be wary of emails that ask you “unsubscribe” as that requires you to click on a link. If you aren’t sure where the email is from you should be very careful in how you deal with it. Links, images, and attachments are all suspect and can download harmful information to your computer instantly if you click on them. In short, if you don’t know the sender and it looks like spam it could very well be contaminated.
If you suspect you have a virus on your computer then you need anti-virus software to remove it. Updating your operating software can also be helpful. Protecting your personal information is important. Don’t enter any sensitive information in an email if you feel it is suspicious. Some viruses may be dangerous and will damage your computer very quickly so early detection of a virus in important. Running a scan daily may be appropriate if you travel to a lot of websites or have a lot of emails that you open.
CNET, Dr. Ronald B. Standler, and Microsoft provided information for this article.