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Today I wanted to touch on viruses and file extensions. There has been a bit of an uptick in the amount of infected machines I have been seeing and hearing about lately, a few our customers have even asked the questions, “How did this happen?” and “why do people do this?!”
Well. To start, these virus, malware, ransomware and spyware makers are doing this because it is a lucrative market. These people stand to make millions of dollars per virus and malware infection they create, depending on how sophisticated and widely delivered it is. This prompts the next question, “How did i get this virus?”
You probably were a victim of some very well played social engineering. Most of these viruses now-a-day’s are being sent to your e-mail as what seems like a legitimate message. In fact, I have received three recently that would be particularly concerning if I hadn’t known what to look for. I had received an e-mail from an attorney’s office stating that a customer put in a claim against my company for some sort of wrong doing, I was instructed to download the .zip folder that was attached to the e-mail. When I did download it I noticed that the form I was supposed to fill out was actually an application or program. How did I know this? The file was titled Case_7763596656.EXE…. So what?
At the end of every file is what is called a file extension. The one just above is called an executable or .EXE. That means when I double click it to open it, it will execute a set of commands (executables are programs, like microsoft office, Google chrome and other pieces of software) and these commands will not execute like we are used to, it will seem like nothing is happening, and you will likely try clicking it again and again. By doing that you are ensuring that the virus or malware is infact running and performing its task.
Please be cautious of what you are clicking on! These e-mails are coming from all sorts of ‘reputable’ sources [e.g. the IRS, Microsoft Exchange Servers, UPS, USPS, FedEX, Attorney’s Offices, WhatsAPP! and E-Fax companies.] all to trick you in to clicking and running the programs inside the .zip folder.
Just remember, if you did not intend to download a program and the file you downloaded is a .EXE file, it is likely a virus waiting to be executed.
If you don’t execute the file it will not be able to infect your machine, simply delete the file in addition to the e-mail.
Until next time!
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Thanks for reading. If there is something you would like to know about feel free to write me an e-mail Brian@BriansTechnology.com. I am always looking for ideas and subjects to write about!