It’s the time of year when we reflect on scary things. For an IT company, it doesn’t get much scarier than an organization’s network getting slammed with a malicious computer virus. There are a variety of really bad viruses out there, each one with its own unique ability to cause some scary results. The way we see it, each computer virus is kind of like a classic monster.
An Overwrite Virus is The Fly
- What an overwrite virus does: Deletes information in the infected files. In this case, the infected files would be rendered totally or partially useless. Additionally, the only way to effectively rid a system of this virus is to delete the file, which would cause the original content to be completely lost.
- Why The Fly is an overwrite virus: Before The Fly was a monster, he was a scientist who successfully developed teleportation technology. Unfortunately, during a teleoperation test run involving the scientist, a fly found its way into the teleportation pod, causing his DNA to slowly become overwritten with fly DNA. This turned him into a hideous monster. He was no longer useful as a productive scientist and the only way to stop his reign of terror was to “delete him.”
An Executable Virus is the Wolfman
- What an executable virus does: An executable virus is a nonresident computer virus that stores itself in an executable file and infects other files each time the file is run. Until the file is executed, it remains dormant--until a predetermined command activates it. Activating the file could require something simple like opening a specific program, or even a remote activation by a hacker.
- Why it’s the Wolfman: The thing about the wolfman is that he’s an average dude during the day, and even during most nights when the moon isn’t full. All the while, he’s out mingling in the real world like a normal person and nobody's the wiser. Then, the full moon happens, his werewolf side is activated (or “executed”), and he goes on a path of destruction. This is what the an executable virus does; it sits dormant on your PC, waiting to be remotely activated by a force that’s beyond your control.
Botnets are Zombies
- What a Botnet does: A botnet is programmed to spread its destructive malware to other systems. This, in turn, creates more bots, and these systems bond together into a botnet. These entities can mask their presence and creep into your system disguised as everyday Internet traffic. It can then proceed to collect as much information as it needs to spam you, steal your company’s data, or overwhelm your system and shut it down with a DDoS attack.
- Why it’s a zombie virus: A zombie virus spreads from person to person by completely taking over their body, forcing them to do something that they wouldn’t normally do--eat brains. This, in turn, only serves to spread the virus and create even more zombies that want to devour even more brains. Botnets have the capability to take over your company’s computers in the same zombie-like way.
Ransomware is an Alien Conquest
- What Ransomware Does: Once a computer is infected with a ransomware like CryptoLocker, the virus will encrypt the files on the computer. It will then lock the user out of their PC and demand that you pay the hackers money for an encryption key. Additionally, CryptoLocker displays a clock that counts down. If the clock hits 0:00 and the hackers haven’t received their money, then all of the PC’s files will be deleted.
- Why Ransomware is Aliens: Ransomware like CryptoLocker is one of the nastiest viruses that we’ve seen, and it actually combines a variety of different viruses. Therefore, we’re going to chalk this one up to aliens. One reason for this association is because there are so many different types of aliens that attack Earth in so many different ways. When it comes to aliens, we see two common themes that coincide with ransomware, 1) The complete takeover of our planet (like the complete takeover of a PC), and 2) the abduction of people (which is similar to the abduction of a user’s data). Even though alien races don’t seem particularly interested in exchanging their human captives for Bitcoins, we feel like we can still make a connection because some hackers have been known to delete a user’s data even after the user has paid the ransom--now that’s scary!
Mutants, werewolves, zombies, and aliens, all of these fictitious monsters are nothing compared to the scare you’ll receive if your business were to be hit with any of these viruses. To prevent scary viruses like this, you need a proven network security solution in place like XFER’s Unified Threat Management appliance, and you need to have a data backup solution that allows you to recover a version of your data before your files were infected. Call XFER today at 734-927-6666 / 800-438-9337 to implement these solutions and take the fear out of computing!