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The 7 Worst Computer Viruses to Look Out For

published 11/5/2020

It's happened to all of us; we get an email with a subject line: "CONGRATS! YOU JUST WON A FREE CRUISE!" and a download link and think, "Hm, this doesn't seem legit."

That's because it's not. There are hackers, bots, and cybersecurity threats that can leave you and your information vulnerable in this trying time.

And it's not always obvious, too. Some viruses can be silently lurking on your machine, with you knowing. However, lucky for you, we have a list of the worst computer viruses.

From ransomware, email chains, and more, we have got you covered on what to look out for. Want to learn more? Then keep on reading for the seven worst computer viruses.

1. Email Viruses and Phishing

Email viruses are some of the most common ways that malware can get into your computer. They can also lead to phishing, which provides hackers with your valuable information and money.

Now, more than ever, hackers are working overtime to take advantage of the many individuals trying to get their lives on track and keep themselves and loved ones safe during this global pandemic.

Hackers will send out emails to various people posing as the World Health Organization, providing tips and tricks to stay safe from the virus. Beware of these emails, as they provide links that can lead to malware to spread across devices.

If you receive one of these emails, be skeptical. In fact, WHO has provided a list to ensure that if someone emails you claiming to be involved with the organization, you can take precautions and screenings.

All in all, it's imperative to stay safe during these times, not only for your own health but also for the health of your computer and data.

2. Ransomware

Ransomware is one of the nastiest computer viruses and can lead your computer completely useless. There are many types of Ransomware, all essentially baiting and attacking in similar ways.

As the name suggests, ransomware can appear on your computer by accidentally installing malicious software.

Ransomware then holds your files hostage, completely eradicating them until you "pay up" to the hackers. Usually, this payment is completed via Bitcoin, but even if you do pay to retrieve your files, there is no way to know if they will come back.

Usually, ransomware leaves your files completely useless. Though you can replace your computer's hard drive to use the machine again, it can take a lot of time and money to set up a new system. Additionally, those files may be irreplaceable.

Some of the most well-known ransomware attacks include WannaCry, Jigsaw, Dharma, and Ryuk. Most of these ransomware spawns have generated millions of dollars from the attack and prey on anyone, from large-scale businesses to everyday people.

If you want to protect yourself against ransomware, make sure you do not click on any emails that you do not recognize or ask for sensitive information or have a download link.

That way, you can have peace of mind that your files remain, and your computer stays virus-free.

3. Keylogger Spyware

Keyloggers have been around for a long time, sometimes used for monitoring activity online; keylogging has been hijacked by hackers to monitor your keystrokes and access valuable information.

Keyloggers are designed so that you don't realize they are even there. In most cases, you may not even know that your valuable information has been stolen until it is too late.

As they are usually downloaded and hidden within random files on your computer, there are ways to prevent keyloggers from accessing your sensitive data.

The best way to ensure that your information isn't being compromised is to download antivirus software to ensure that the files you download are safe from any piggy-backing malware that can access your data.

4. Popup Adware

Let's face it; nobody likes spammy ads. Though most adware is relatively tame and more of an inconvenience than dangerous, there is still a dark side that can allow hackers and other individuals to see your internet browsing history, passwords, and credit card information.

A great way to avoid adware is to use adblockers on your browser application or many antivirus software. That way, you can browse safely and securely without the risk.

5. Malicious Applications

Whether you are using a phone or a computer, there are applications across many devices that are not legitimate. Though most have to go through approval from app and web stores, some may slip through the cracks.

There are lists of malicious applications, and if you currently have any installed, uninstall them immediately. These apps can gain access to your sensitive information and do not abide by app store guidelines.

The best way to ensure that an app on your computer or phone is safe is to make sure that you research the app beforehand or make sure that they abide by app store guidelines.

6. Botnets

Bots are computers that create a network of infected machines. These attacks usually occur from an individual clicking a pop-up ad, email attachment, or downloading software from a website.

Once infected, the bots have access to personal information and can even infect other computers. To protect yourself from bots, make sure you avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments if you are unaware of the sender and keep an eye out when browsing the web to ensure you are not clicking on any sketchy ads.

7. Browser Hijacking

Browser hijacking can lead to your computer being overtaken and change the layout, content, and personalization of your web browser.

In a more sinister situation, browser hijackers can also steal valuable information and lead you to websites you do not want to be on.

The best way to ensure that your browser will not be hijacked is not to install any suspicious add-on.

Protect Yourself From the Worst Computer Viruses

From phishing emails to browser hijacking, here are the seven worst computer viruses. Now that you have this valuable information, you can protect yourself and browse safely and securely.

Does your computer need some TLC? We offer various services to get your device up and running from data recovery, repairs, and more. Check out our website for more information.