the Origin and Evolution of Computer Viruses
on virus present levels of infections sets the scene to this
brief history of computer viruses.
Computer viruses and malware have been "in
the wild" for almost 25 years already.
Trends and industry analysts state that the
efforts of the propagators will not relent. Last year marked
the first ever mobile phone virus and Bluetooth technology,
for example, compounds the threats to security. 35% of PCs in
the US are infected while in China and India the rates hit 50%.
Experts in the field of security report the
first virus was spread as early as 1981. Fred Cohen, however,
wrote in his seminal paper that the first virus was conceived
as an experiment on November 3rd, 1983. Since then viruses and
malware have plagued and wreaked havoc among computer systems
worldwide. For a comprehensive explanation of viruses and malware
Wading through the Jargon and What
are Spyware, Adware, Keyloggers, Diallers and Root Kits?.
Risks through the Internet
With the advent of such communications advances like the Internet,
mobile telephony and Bluetooth (a short range radio technology
that simplifies wireless communication among devices such as
computers and mobiles. It also aims at quickly and easily connect
these devices to the Internet) computer viruses have spread
at an alarming rate. The downside to such advances is that
where before only a few computers would get infected, now thousands,
if not millions, are at the mercy of virus authors.
Early Threats Disables 10% of Computers Infected
In 1987 a large network (ARPANET) used by universities and the
US government was infected by a virus. Robert Morris, son of
a computer security expert for the National Security Agency,
sent malicious code through ARPANET, affecting about 10% of
the connected computer hosts - at the time there were only 60,000
hosts connected to the network. The code reproduced itself and
filtered through network computers; consequently, the size of
the files filled computers' memories, thus disabling numerous
Alarming 66% of PCs today are Infected by
Spyware and 35% are infected by viruses in the US
Today, an estimated 1.21 billion people (Computer Industry Almanac)
are connected to the Internet with millions of computer hosts
connected chatting, exchange files, emails and communicating
in general. Can you imagine how easy it is to spread a virus
One anti-spyware developer, reports that the
infection rate of malicious spyware at companies is approximately
at 7% and adware appears on an incredible 52% of machines. 3
to 5% of enterprise machines had keyloggers. At homes, the percentages
are much higher. The same anti-spyware developer reports that
66% of the PCs scanned by its online tool were found to be
infected with an average of 25 spyware entities each. If
one were to define cookies as spyware than the rate will shoot
up to 88%! Adware was found on 64% of the machines. Viruses
and Trojans, reports the company, were found on 7% and 19% of
the machines respectively.
According to Panda Software, over 50% of
PCs in India and China, for example are infected with a virus.
In the US and the UK, the rate is 35%. All in all, this
means that many people still remain without active protection
Anti-virus is not enough?
In a study performed by security firm Checkbridge, the company
ran 2 million email messages through three famous email scanners.
None of the programs tested caught all the viruses. The success
rates of the scanners varied from 97% to 64%. The CEO of
Checkbridge also states that in many cases using two scanners
at the same time does not guarantee pinpointing all the viruses
all of the time. Similarly, many computer experts report that
using two or three anti-spyware programs usually manages to
delete 95%+ of spyware.
The Four Pillars of Security
The article "How
do I Combat the Dangerous Threats to My Computer and My Data?"
extensively describe the things you have to do to combat viruses
and other security threats.
- Invest in good anti-virus software.
- Install anti-spyware software.
- Try to install a firewall as the third pillar
- Use processlibrary.com as a fourth component
Processlibrary.com is a free website gives you
information on any and all of the processes that you may be
running at the moment. With this information you can immediately
identify any possible new threats that may have infiltrated
into your system. Processlibrary.com definitions will help you
cover that window of time until your preferred anti-virus and
anti-spyware software vendors update their scanners.