One of the great scourges of the computer age is the spread of computer viruses.
There have been thousands of them since the 1980s and you can see some screenshots of the more infamous ones below. Viruses, worms, hoaxes, malware, trojans, spyware, scareware, adware and ransomware have caused countless hours of frustration, lost time and productivity and cost billions of dollars around the world.
Some of them spy on or attempt to sabotage governments or corporations. Others attempt to trick the affected user into buying the full version of the “program” to remove fake computer viruses when the program itself IS the virus.
Some malware installs itself on an infected computer, using it as a host to infect other PCs by running bot programs. These programs can log keystrokes which allow them to record information like passwords and bank details. Other nuisance programs change the default search engine in your web browser. Adware pops up constantly annoying ads when you’re surfing the Internet which can drastically slow down the computer. Some of them are written by people with too much time on their hands or wanting to show off their programming prowess and skill.
It is important to install all Microsoft Security updates when they become available and to have trusted Antivirus software installed.
At Craig the Computer Geek, we believe that you get what you pay for when it comes to AV software, so we recommend a commercial solution from vendors like Symantec, Kaspersky and Trend Micro. Microsoft Security Essentials is free software and does a reasonable job as does AVG and Avast but these are not a full antivirus solution.
The removal of computer viruses can be time consuming, with multiple scans sometimes needed to remove the more stubborn infections. In some of the worst cases, the hard drive needs to be removed completely and scanned from another computer, as the infected computer has been too badly compromised.