Security

Blue Screen, Antiviruses, Porn Sites… 10 Myths About Computer Viruses And Internet Security

« You watch porn ? Then you do have viruses, it’s obvious. », « I got a blue screen, my computer must be infected », « I have installed an antivirus, I am invincible ! »… Well, if these situations seem true to you, you definitely need to understand a bit more about viruses and antiviruses. Here are 10 myths about computer viruses that might surprise you.

All Porn Sites Are At Risk

This is clearly not true. Know that most porn sites are lucrative, therefore they do have the budget to afford strong internet security measures. On the other hand, non-lucrative websites such as personal blogs, non-profit organisations or even churches websites are more likely to infect your computer.

No antivirus = No virus

Curiously, some people think that if they never installed an antivirus on their computer, they will never contract one, a bit like if antiviruses would be a marker on your computer calling for viruses. They tend to believe this because they think they never had viruses before. The thing is, they are very likely to be currently affected by one without knowing it. Let’s remind that most viruses operate discreetly in the background, quietly stealing your information or damaging your files.

Error Messages Are Caused By Viruses

People who believe this must understand that computers can show dysfunctions even without being infected by viruses. This explains that all error messages are not essentially caused by viruses. For example, an antivirus that is not updated could become incompatible with a new version of your operating system and launch an error message. This does not mean your computer is infected.

Viruses Can’t Get To Mac Computers

There was a time when Mac technology was less subject to be affected by viruses. Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore. They might still be less at risk, Mac computers are no longer considered as virus-proof. Let’s remind 2012 when the Mac Flashback trojan had reportedly infected more than half a million Macs as an example.

Installing An Antivirus Make Computers Totally Invincible

Again, this is unfortunately untrue. You might install the best antivirus available on the market, if you do not update it regularly, it won’t be as efficient as it could be. Always remember that viruses evolve all the time and change constantly. This way, even a good antivirus, when not updated, won’t be able to protect you from the latest virus. Remember to update your antivirus as often as you can, and remember that even so, no one is totally protected. Using your common sense to avoid risky situations and websites is probably the best security that can be.

Clicking On An Antivirus Pop Up Box Delete The Virus

Again, it would be just to easy to be true. Viruses developers are clever, they will use any technique to fool you. These pop up box are called « Antivirus virus »: they claim your computer has been infected and instructs you to click on it to remove the virus, which will actually launch the virus! So, if this happens to you, never click on it. Again, the best antivirus is your common sens.

Attachments Are The Only Thing In Emails That Can Infect Your Computer

This is probably the most common myth about viruses, and again, it is not true. Attachments can be the source of a virus infection, but not the sole. Sometimes, just by opening an email, you can contract a virus. That is why it is highly recommended not to open any email that seem strange to you.

Big Blue Screen = Virus

Beeeep. Wrong again. A blue screen on your computer means that it has crashed because is affected by a technical dysfunction, like faulty hardware or bad drivers. This dysfunction can be caused by a virus, but not always. As an example, there can be a problem with the driver of your internal Wi-Fi card if you just changed your operating system, in which case your computer could show a blue screen and crash. In this case, a virus is not the cause of the crash.

Formatting And Reinstalling Windows Will Delete All Virus

Yes! At least one myth that is true. Formatting your computer and reinstalling an operating system will delete all viruses, as well as anything else on your computer. What people tend to forget, is that viruses can infect files as well. If you store all your files in a back-up drive during the process, and re-copy them with the new operating system without scanning them, the new operating system will be infected as well. When you format your computer, scan your files before saving them on the hard drive. (You might as well do it when you copy them back on the new operating system, but your hard drive could remain infected.)

Firewall = Antivirus

Many people tend to get confused between firewalls and antiviruses. Let’s explain: an antivirus can detect when an infection appear, but it can also scan your computer for viruses it hasn’t detected at first place. A firewall only blocks unauthorised connections. So if your firewall didn’t detect an unauthorised connection, it won’t be able to further detect a virus.

On the other hand, an antivirus which hasn’t detected a virus at first place can be activated manually to scan the whole of the computer. So it’s always a good thing to bet on the most security as possible by enabling a firewall additionally to installing an antivirus, but it would be a mistake to depend only on your firewall to protect your computer from viruses. It is also recommended scanning your computer with your antivirus as often as you can, even if there is no apparent infection sign.