There was once a time when computer viruses were deemed as a load of hot air, a purely irrelevant aspect of computing, or at the very worst, a minor annoyance. Nowadays, the budding entrepreneur cannot grow their business without paying lip service to the most damaging aspect of any company in the modern world. Computer viruses are in many sophisticated forms now, from malware to ransomware, as well as the standard computer virus. But in examining how we can best protect our businesses from hackers and thieves, we need to look back in order to go forward. So what have been the most damaging computer viruses of all time? Here are two!
This was one of the offshoots of malware, this is ransomware. Although there are typical viruses such as spyware or Trojan software, ransomware is a type of malware that will take your files hostage. It was first discovered in September 2013, where it spread through numerous files, and made $30 million in 100 days, with over 500,000 victims of this ransomware. We’ve seen ransomware more recently than 2013, with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service being subject to attack earlier this year, and as this has shown, not even large-scale organizations are adequately secured.
It’s a very simple approach to stop your data being held to ransom, back up your files! For your business, you may want to have recovery software installed, or have a sophisticated IT service at your disposal to get a good idea of what your business needs to protect itself from malware or ransomware, or visit the website of a certified IT service provider to browse what they offer.
This was a virus that infected various computers throughout 2006 and resulted in over 200 million infections by July 2007. These infections only reached the computer if you were to click on an offending email. This is a prominent example of what is called a Trojan horse, by which the virus was on a link attached to an email. This particular email had a subject line of “230 dead as storm batters Europe.” As people were undoubtedly intrigued, they would click onto the link, where the Trojan virus infected the computer, and turned the computers into zombies or into bots so the virus could spread as well as send spam email. If you take anything away from this story, it’s to make sure that you check that a link is verified before you open it, as this has been one of the predominant reasons that businesses lose time and money, because somebody chose to click on a link because they were curious. If anything, you need to communicate the value of due diligence to your employees.
If you know nothing about computer viruses and their impacts on business, now is a good time to start researching into the impact that one little virus can have on an organization. As we seen with the NHS attack, as well as countless examples over the years, we, as businesses, and as people, do not look after our information as adequately as we think we do. These two viruses are the tip of the iceberg, and as viruses mutate and hackers think of ways to cleverly sneak these into our digital lives, this has to be at the forefront of your mind when setting up any company nowadays.