Here you will find some of the more commonly encountered questions on the subject of how IT virus infections can enter into a company’s technical infrastructure.
Could my system pick up a virus through memory sticks used by visitors on my PC’s?
Yes, that could certainly and very easily happen.
A virus or any other form of malware can sit on just about any form of magnetic media including flash memory sticks, DVDs, memory cards, plug-in intelligent devices and so on.
What can I do to prevent it?
Ultimately, the safest approach to adopt is to not permit anyone to bring their own magnetic media into your organisation and connect it to any of your IT equipment.
Of course, that may not always be practical.
If it isn’t for you, you should consider making certain that you have the latest version of a market-leading virus checking program. They will usually have facilities for running a scan of any media to see if it is infected.
Some companies have a completely isolated PC which is connected to nothing else but which runs virus check software. Any magnetic media brought in must be scanned on that PC before anyone is allowed to do anything with it.
Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice from specialists in IT Security Systems.
Can I get a virus from any Internet site?
Yes, you could.
There is absolutely nothing special about any type of Internet site that by definition means it could not contain a virus.
What is the case is that some site owners, hopefully the majority of reputable businesses in fact, will have installed a variety of security systems on their servers to ensure that they cannot hold and therefore pass on viruses to visitors.
However, that is absolutely not something to be assumed or relied upon. You must have your own Internet security software and anti-virus protection.
Do I have to download something before I could get a virus?
Space doesn’t permit a full discussion of the technicalities here but in some circumstances a site could place malicious software onto your PC just by virtue of you connecting to it.
Is ‘phishing’ a virus?
This is a technique used by criminals and some pranksters, which involves sending you an e-mail or tricking you into connecting to the site, which pretends to be something other than it really is.
The classic example is emails that appear to be from your bank and which may be indistinguishable from the real thing at a casual glance. Those emails would typically try to trick you into responding and disclosing confidential information when you do so. Sometimes they may provide a link for you to connect directly to a site pretending to be your bank’s.
When you subsequently enter in your password and details, in reality you will be passing them to the crook or prankster.
While the criminals are conducting a constant technological war against the providers of security software systems, they have also opened up a front which can best be described as psychological and which targets ordinary everyday users.
It is imperative to be on your guard and to apply common sense when finding yourself theoretically looking at emails from organisations you work with.