In our continuing quest to inform and advise, I bring you thins month’s edition of “GNO-pse.”
Today will we look at common misconceptions about computing in general.
Myth: You can only get viruses from porn sites.
Reality: Though we might want this to be true, it’s not. Email links have long been a means of delivering viruses (how many people remember the “I love You” virus?) and, over the years, malware creators are getting better and better at their stock in trade and are able to deliver their product through even the most reliable websites. Always make sure your antivirus is updated.
Myth: I have a Mac so I don’t need to worry about viruses.
Reality: While this was once true, it was never about Macs. It was a simple matter of return on investment. Mac’s made up such a small percentage of the business workstation world that it was simply not worth it to write malware that targeted them. This is no longer true. As Apple products become more popular, they are starting to see more and more attention from hackers. In 2016, ransomware issues with Transmission and KeRanger (delivered via a hacked file on the Applestore) clearly shows that it is possible to take a Macs files “hostage.” There are also viruses that use Macs as a conduit to infect Windows servers.
Myth: Reinstalling Windows and restoring your backup is the best way to be sure you have gotten rid of a virus.
Reality: This may or may not work depending on the virus. For instance, if your particular infection was sitting dormant for a week or so before it spread, your backups may well have copies of the infection as a part of them…for businesses, we recommend seeking expert assistance.
Myth: Computer errors mean you have a virus.
Reality: The famous “blue screen of death” or other less dramatic Windows errors do not mean that you have a virus infection. They are far more likely to come from insufficient memory, recently installed updates or software glitches.
Myth: A computer can be infected simply by accessing a website on the internet.
Reality: I frequently hear from clients that they got a virus just by going to a website, but the reality is that malware is a program. A virus has to be executed and run on your computer, most often as a part of a link in an email or even on a webpage. Many can lay dormant until a timer or other event triggers them so it can appear as though you got the virus when you visited a page.
Myth: You should shut your computer down when you leave the office.
Reality: The hardest work most computers do is starting up. Spinning up hard drives, turning on fans, going from cold to hot. It’s tough on your machine. Additionally, when you power the machine back down for the night, it goes from hot to cold and this temperature change causes the boards and chips to expand and contract ever so slightly. Over time this can break traces in the circuitry and cause real problems. It also means that your IT provider may not be able to access your machine to do scheduled maintenance. An alternate solution is to take advantage of the power settings on your machine to control when the system goes into a low power mode.
Myth: You should always install all updates.
Reality: When it comes to updates, remember to slow down and read everything. It’s also a good idea to wait a bit to apply updates. It’s not uncommon for updates to create problems for the machines that were not detected when the software provider was “testing.” If there are a lot of people reporting problems after applying an update, then you might want to skip that one. As a rule, we wait 30 days before applying updates to our clients and only then if it looks safe. The only exception is updates for your antivirus software. Anti-virus updates are often hot on the heels of a new threat so it’s best to just apply them.
As always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions: email@example.com