Computer Viruses – How to Get One


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Here is an article I wrote back in April of 2010 – edited for brevity.

Computer Viruses – How to Get One

(Nastiness Delivered Via Internet and Email)

Here are the steps to making sure you have a virus:

  • You click a link to some unknown website.
  • Your computer reports some sort of “malware”.
  • You panic and click the “Please Save Me” button on the page.
  • After all, they did offer to disinfect your computer.
  • Now you have the virus for sure – ouch!
  • Did you just give them your credit card number?
  • Panic has now become extreme panic.

You should call your bank to alert them that someone in the wild world of cyberspace now has your credit card information (if you did fall for that trick). Chances are; your bank won’t ask you if you would like a new card. They will simply tell you; “We are cancelling your credit card and we will be sending a new one to you.” Of course, they’ll put you through the usual drill to ascertain your identity.

That is just one of many scenarios illustrating how easy it is to contract a computer virus. Clicking on “some unknown website” is something many people do quite often through normal searching activity. Another way you can get one is by opening email from an unknown sender. Expanding on that topic could fill an entire page of instructions on how to manage email, so we’ll simply discuss a few senders to avoid.

You will not receive email from the United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, DHL, or any other package carrier. They just don’t send email to customers out of the blue. So, please do not open email from any sender that says your package was not delivered. It simply is not true. There was no package, the delivery service did not send the email. You should delete it, or add the sender to your blocked senders, or do both. If you do open one of these messages, you are inviting a virus into your computer. Dire consequences include a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, anger, and anguish brought on by knowing you just did something you should not have done.

Likewise, unless you have subscribed to online notification from your financial institution, you will not receive email from your bank. The bad guys have become quite skilled at representing well known banks in a way that looks very official. The email looks like it came from a bank, and usually the message says something to raise concern, like your account status is in question. But don’t be fooled. Do not open that email. If you are truly concerned, you can pull out a bank statement, find the customer service number and call your bank directly to discuss the issue. Or, you can simply delete the email, or add the sender to your blocked senders or do both.

To review:

  • If you get to a website that reports your computer has a virus, close that web page.
  • If you get an email from some delivery service reporting non-delivery, do not open that email.
  • Email messages from financial services providers should only be opened if you have subscribed to their notification service.

Your security software cannot prevent you from going to a website that may download malware to your computer.
It cannot prevent you from opening an email message that contains a virus payload.

This is your responsibility. This is the portent of this article. You must arm yourself with the knowledge necessary to prevent you from inadvertently introducing the nasty stuff to your computer in the first place.

Do you think you have a virus? Do you need help with malware removal?
Contact me at and I’ll be there to help you.