Email borne viruses and worms, there preventive and corrective measures

As the world is becoming more and more digitized day by day, peoples are becoming technology dependent and an E for electronic is being attached to several mediums we should keep in mind all the possible risks and threats which could cause us damage or loss. When a person uses he/she is most usually concerned about viruses and worms because they could cause damage to his/her computer system. So let us understand what are email borne viruses and worms and how they affect our system, what damage they can cause to us and what measures could we take in order to prevent us from the attach or how to react if the attack happens.

What are E-mail borne Viruses and Worms?

Email borne viruses are nothing but a virus which comes into your computer by emails, usually with the attachments of the email. The only difference in a normal virus and an email borne virus is their mode of travelling or transmitting from one computer to other. They could cause a grave damage to one’s computer if successfully executed.
In the same way email borne worms are those worms which enter into a computer by the helps of emails, through attachment download or other way. These worms could be very harmful to us as they can also disable our antivirus software sometimes.

Some major viruses and worms.

I Love You (2000)[1] - Who wouldn't open an e-mail with "I Love You" in the subject line? Well, that was the problem. By May 2000, 50 million infections of this worm had been reported. The Pentagon, the CIA, and the British Parliament all had to shut down their e-mail systems in order to purge the threat.
 Melissa (1999) - Melissa was an exotic dancer, and David L. Smith was obsessed with her and also with writing viruses. The virus he named after Melissa and released to the world on March 26, 1999, kicked off a period of high-profile threats that rocked the Internet between 1999 and 2005.
Slammer (2003) - This fast-moving worm managed to temporarily bring much of the Internet to its knees in January 2003. The threat was so aggressive that it was mistaken by some countries to be an organized attack against them.      
The Blaster Worm (2003)[2] - The Blaster worm launched a denial of service attack against Microsoft's website in 2003, and infected millions of computers around the world by exploiting a security hole in Microsoft's software. Its author has never been found.

Preventive measures to response to these threats

ü  Use a Firewall – Using a firewall is a great idea when it comes to prevent our computer or network; it is locking the front door of your home and helps to keep intruders outside the home. But choosing a firewall is a concern; one should choose a good firewall according to the needs and conditions and should install it properly to be effective.
ü  Regularly update software’s – Updating your software regularly is a great idea as it updates the database to the latest definitions so that it can react accordingly. Updating you operating system and applying patches is a great way to avoid virus, worms etc.
ü  Install antivirus software – It is the most effective measure to prevent the virus, worms, malwares etc from getting into a computer system. Good antivirus software is able to detect these threats and remove them before infecting our system.
ü  Browse safely and securely – While browsing internet you should keep in mind some things in order to avoid virus etc to get in your computer. Download programs and files only from the source you trust. Do not click on suspicious links in websites or in emails. Use a safe box while working online.
Corrective responses to the threats of email borne viruses and worms

If you accidently opened an email attachment that was already infected with a virus or worm, you can take certain actions in order to fix the problems caused by those virus or worm. An email borne virus or worm can automatically send emails to the names in your contact list without your permission. So it is necessary to respond quickly to ensure minimal loss.

ü  Run your antivirus software – This should be the first step if your computer gets affected by the viruses, worms or any other threat. It will scan the whole computer and will find the viruses but remember that if the virus is quite new and the antivirus does not contain it definitions in its database it will not detect it.
ü  Run other software like malware finder etc – If the antivirus does not find anything it is a good option to run a malware finder program like Spybot or Malwarebytes etc, so that they could find any malware present inside the computer.
ü  Scan by boot disks – In extreme cases in which the above mentioned solution did not work you should have a good boot disk, boot from that disk run the virus scan. This is a very good method to remove viruses from the computer. As it scan at the boot time which is more effective and it also scans the memory too.
ü  Checking the HDD with other computer – If none of the above options work, you can consider removing your HDD and attaching it to a different computer in which all the essential software are present so that you can scan your HDD there.
ü  Consider a professional’s help – If you are not that much aware of all these things, the best way is to consider a professional to remove all infections from your computer.

[1] Top 10 computer virus and worms by Ned Potter - Last visited on (18-Dec-2013)
[2]  As given in the telegraph article - Last visited on (18-Dec-2013)

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