Internet basics

What is a computer virus?

Malicious code, better known as computer virus. Malicious code is a software code that runs to harm a device, a user, or abuse our device to harm another device or user.

How does it get on a device?
There are two ways it can get on our device. The first option is, that the user installed it on his device, thinking he would install something else. Alternatively, malicious code can exploit the vulnerability of our operating system, browser, or other software and it installs itself without our knowledge. This is why it is very important that we update our operating system and all the other software we use on our devices.

Why is the malicious code dangerous or harmful?
There are four most common types of malicious code.

  • Malicious code may use our device as a so called zombie. It makes it possible for a villain to to borrow our computer and internet access to attack major information systems (e.g. corporations or governments). This makes our computer a zombie soldier in the attack on a large information system.
  • Malicious code can encrypt our information, such as documents, photos, videos, and other data, and prevent us from accessing it unless we pay a ransom.
  • Malicious code allows a villain to use our device to mine cryptocurrencies, which means that the villain uses our resources, such as electricity, internet connection and the processing power of our device.
  • Malicious code finds stored passwords on our device and  thus the villain gains unauthorized access to our accounts, such as email, e-bank, and alike.

How can we protect ourselves?
The most important thing is not to just click on links in e-mails and on the web, because we can do the most for the safety of our devices ourselves.

Let's also check that we have an antivirus program installed on our device and that it is updated. There are several different antivirus programs that are free for home use, such as AVAST, AVG Antivirus, 360 TOTAL SECURITY, Avira AntiVir. These programs are good enough for the average user. Find the program icon in the lower right corner of the Taskbar, open it, and check that the description files are up to date.

It is also good to have an antivirus program installed on our mobile phone or tablet. We have to open an application on this type of device to check that it is up to date.

What else can we do?
It is also good to have a backup of your data in a cloud (such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox), so that if our computer is attacked, we won't lose all of our data, e. g.  images, videos, phone numbers, contacts, and other data.

We wish you a safe and responsible use of your devices. And remember, you can do the most for your device and data security.