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How Did I Get Infected?

About a year ago, we posted an article about virus infection, “How to Help Prevent Getting Re-infected by viruses (Or Get Infected in the First Place.)” .

 

Todays blog post is a follow up to that.  Here at Geek Easy we frequently get asked “How did I get infected?”.  It’s never a simple answer so we thought we give you some general ideas of how it could possibly happen.

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The most common thought today is that if someone gets a virus, they got it from a porn site or some other unscrupulous online site/activity.  Those “high risk” sites include pornographic, peer-to-peer file-sharing, gambling, and online drug sites. The truth is that is actually a very small percentage of the origin of most viral infections.

 

Turns out,the most common sites to spread malware are legitimate ones that have been hacked/hijacked by the makers of malware.  Unfortunately, a lot of these major company, media, or blog sites are easily manipulated by hackers.  A study has shown that you are more likely to get a virus from a religious site than you are from a porn site!

 

One of the highest percentage of malware infections come from someone clicking on a link in an email.  Disguised as a trusted website, they don’t even think about clicking on the link.  The next thing you know they are getting pop-ups, ads, or worse.  Another major cause of malware are false search engine links.  Again, they are disguised as legitimate links.  It may take a few more seconds but the best way to avoid these are to manually type in the link.

 

Another common method of getting infected are redirecting links.  This is where the link looks like its pointing to a legitimate website, but when you click on it, it redirects you to a bogus website where malware is downloaded to your computer.  Or worse, your personal information is harvested.  The way to avoid these is the same as for email links:  manually type in the url to the site rather than clicking the link.

 

The third and arguably the method most people fall for, are deceptive downloads.  You think you are just downloading a simple toolbar, or game, or some other application.  Unbeknownst to you, malware has hitched along for the ride.  Suddenly ads, pop-ups are happening randomly, and you computer is running erratically.  Sometimes adware/spamware is attached to legitimate downloads.  They bury the existence in the fine print of the download approval statement so you don’t realize you’ve given the okay until it’s too late.

 

The best way to avoid getting infected is to not frequent sites that are known for suspicious behavior.  Be diligent about not just clicking through dialog boxes.  READ the entire disclaimer before you click ‘yes’ and approve the download.  Modifying your online behavior will greatly reduce your chances of getting infected with a virus or malware.  Of course, always make sure your anti-virus applications database is up to date.

 

If you do happen to have an infection, or think you do, the experts at Geek Easy Computers are always here to aid you!  Never need to make an appointment, just drop of your computer and we’ll take it from there!  We want to make your technology easier!

 

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