October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This is an internationally-recognized campaign that aims to spread cybersecurity awareness. In the last week of this year’s campaign, we will be sharing some facts on the spookiest viruses online today.
If you missed our previous blogs for Cybersecurity Awareness Month, you can check them out below:
- Week 1: Taking Cybersecurity into Your Own Hands
- Week 2: What We Use at FixMeStick for Cybersecurity
- Week 3: Safeguarding Your Family’s Future with a Plan for Cybersecurity
- Week 4: Spreading Cybersecurity Awareness in Your Community
General Traits of Scary Viruses
Scary viruses are also known as scareware. These are malicious files designed to scare you into paying the hacker or scammer by showing you messages informing you that your computer is infected with a virus.
These viruses often appear in the form of a pop-up or an image that displays on your entire computer screen. Some have the ability to destroy your computer’s data if they are not backed up, or lock up your computer and scare you into paying a ransom for your files. Continue reading below to learn more about some of these scary viruses.
This is a virus that showed up in the early years of computers on DOS operating systems. On infected computers, Cascade would cause the letters on the screen to drop, or cascade down. Not only can it be scary to watch the text on your screen fall apart, but Cascade also makes the computing process useless when it is in action.
Scary Pop-up Messages
These scary pop-up messages are designed to take over your computer screen, making it difficult for you to navigate around them. The messages in these pop-up messages can scare you into paying a scammer, allowing scammers access to your computer files, or clicking on links that download more viruses on your computer.
Gruel, also known as the Fakerr virus was an older computer virus and is classified as a computer worm. It spread via email by posing as an email attachment that claims to be an important Microsoft update. When activated it displays this scary message:
“Your computer now is mine, Why? Because I didn’t had nothing to do and I thought, why not make the evil? Remember NOW YOUR PC IS IN MY POWER Windows Sucks!”
The message also goes on for a few more sentences and works to remove the “Run” option from your computer’s Start menu, making it very difficult to remove.
Petya is a recent virus that is still infecting computers today and causing havoc around the globe. When activated, the virus spooks people out by displaying a giant image of a skull on their computer screen, followed by the message:
“You have become a victim of the Petya Ransomware”.
The message goes on to outline some ways the user can pay the ransom to unlock their files. However, paying the ransom will not unlock your files as Petya’s creators never had the intention of sending you a decryption key to unlock your files.
Protecting Yourself from Spooky Viruses
Since these viruses are designed to scare you, the first thing to do when you run into these viruses is to not get spooked out! That way, you can still think logically to avoid paying a large ransom or falling further into the virus’ scams.
As a preventative measure, consider backing up all the files on your computer so that if your computer does get infected, you will not lose these files.