In 2017, computer viruses are as advanced as ever. But there are unknown vulnerabilities that present the real danger, because viruses can exploit them until they're identified and patched.
Once a virus is identified, its "signature" is added to your antivirus software's database. The antivirus software uses that signature to recognize the virus when it scans files on your computer. If the software's database isn't updated, it may not recognize a virus, and your computer will become infected. The effects can be minor, like keeping you from playing games, or can be serious, like the theft of your online banking password.
New Virus Activity in 2020
Depending on how you count them, there may be millions of computer viruses out there, though many are minor variations of each other; hackers sometimes make small changes to a virus to change its signature and make it undetectable for a while. Most computer viruses circulate for a relatively brief period before being stopped by antivirus software.
These are some of the recent viruses your antivirus software can protect you against:
This is the virus that kept gamers out of their games. It's a kind of ransomware, which encrypts files on the victim's PC and decrypts them if a ransom is paid. TeslaCrypt was unusual because it targeted specific kinds of data files, which victims valued. The encrypted files include things like photos and videos, as well as game save files.
Like many viruses, Rombertik tries to capture information users type into a browser window, including login credentials. Some viruses are selective, and try to capture information related to specific financial websites, but Rombertik sweeps up everything. Rombertik is particularly dangerous because if it notices that it's being analyzed, it wipes the computer's master boot record.
This virus was first discovered towards the end of 2014, but new variants continue to be created this year. All of them are targeted towards stealing banking information that's typed into the browser. In the latest versions, Dyre carries its own signed security certificate. Normally, your browser uses a security certificate to encrypt your credentials and send them to the bank over https. By having its own certificate, Dyre is able to bypass the normal secure communication protocols even though you think you're on a secure https connection.
Trojan Werdlod.D is an example of Trojan malware. When installed, this malware connects to another site to download other malicious software, modifies proxy settings and adds a root certificate, enabling it to steal data at the network level. Like Dyre, it targets banking information.
Stay Safe By Keeping Antivirus and Other Software Up-to-Date
Protect your PC from new viruses by keeping your antivirus software up-to-date. It's important to keep all your other software up to date, too. Operating system updates contain security updates that patch the underlying vulnerabilities that viruses exploit. And some viruses take advantage of bugs in other products, like Flash. The best way to make sure you're safe is to have antivirus software running on a computer with an updated operating system and current versions of all the software you use. Learn more about how to choose the right antivirus software to keep your computer safe.