FACT: PCs running Windows system software are more prone to computer viruses than Macs. This week I really wish I had a Mac at home. I work with Macs at work (and have never had a virus in 15 years), but at home we have 2 PCs. Glenn’s computer got ANOTHER virus. It seems no matter how hard I try to protect that PC, nothing stops those criminals. I have McAfee Virus Protection, a Firewall and SpyDoctor installed on the computer, but that didn’t protect us.
Criminal scammers and virus writers are getting more savvy about how they go about unleashing a mayhem onto your computer. This latest virus started when Glenn was online. A very scary and official-looking Microsoft message box popped up stating that our computer had viruses, trojan horses, all kinds of threatening stuff. Flashing red letters: Just click here and everything will be fixed honkey-dorey.
Glenn has been taught (by me) to NEVER EVER click on the box to scan the computer. Our anti-virus protection programs will never pop up like that. While the warning box may look official, complete with the Microsoft logo, it’s a scam. They are not scanning your computer for viruses, they definitely are downloading spyware and/or viruses to your computer recording your keystrokes to get valuable passwords to bank accounts and credit card numbers. I am not sure what the value of downloading a virus is except maybe to piss me off.
In the past it’s been advised that if you get one of these pop-ups the best thing to do is click on the red box with the “X” in the right-hand corner of the window to close it. Then close out of everything and run your anti-virus software to double-check that nothing had been downloaded. (That is exactly what Glenn did. Good boy.) But that is so 2009! Today, if you click on the red box with the “X” that actually tells the program to run and…you’ve got a virus! (Oh crap.)
So here is 3 things I learned this week about viruses:
- Use Safari or Firefox instead of Internet Explorer. Criminals are going to write the code for the Browser that is the most popular (i.e. Explorer) to increase their chances of infecting as many computers as possible. About 2-3% of people use Safari (and that is what most Mac users have). So the chances of getting a virus if you are using a Browser like Safari are less likely.
- There is nothing you can do. Protect all you want but these criminals are smarter than your anti-virus software. My McAfee was completely destroyed by this virus…like I never had it to begin with.
- Buy a MAC!
$130 later we have the PC back. I still have to reinstall McAfee. We have had 3 viruses on this computer since we bought it 4 years ago. Steve Jobs, if you’re out there listening…please send me a Mac for Christmas!
If you live in the Westminster, CO area…the guys at PC City have mad-skills when it comes to fixing this type of problem! Look them up.