The very recent virus that is in circulation is Kama Sutra, the name it is using among many other names. It also has names like W32/Nyxem-D worm, Grew.A, Blackworm, and a few more. Reports are saying that it is different from other worms because it is not doing what it is doing to get financial benefit as some of the other worms are known to be driven by such motivation for wreaking havoc. Kama Sutra is said to be deadly because it hunts and deletes Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint documents, PDF, including the Adobe PhotoShop, Zip files and many more from the hard drives of computers that are infected by the virus.
It is not different form many of the worms that activate themselves when opening email attachments, and it uses exotic pornographic enticements to make the victims open their attachments. The few of the exotic terms it uses just to watch out for them are Crazy Illegal Sex, Give Me a kiss, Miss Lebanon 2006, and School Girl Fantasies Gone Bad. The first thing it does is disable any anti-virus or firewall software that is running on a given computer and will take the usual route of worms where it will start replicating itself by sending out emails to all email addresses that it finds in the address book of the infected computers. This one at least does not open backdoors so that intruders can take control of computers.
What this shows is on a given month, up to 20 to 30 viruses could be unleashed doing all sort of malicious things to computers that they infected. According to reports about the breaking down of virus activities for the year 2005, 42 percent were Trojans, 26 percent were bots, 11 percent were backdoor Trojans, 8 percent were dialers, 6 percent were worms, and 3 percent were type of adware/spyware.
However, in spite the nuisance and damage they can cause, their main way of activating their malice is when opening attachments. By now almost everyone knows that it is almost breaking a taboo to tamper with attachments that should be deleted immediately and thrown out, even out of the recycle bin so that they do not explode in there because some of them are time bombs. Yet, still there are individuals that have to exchange these attachments to circulate material and information, and there are a number of suggestions.
One of them is never to open an attachment from an unknown source; even some go as far as saying not opening attachments even from a known source will reduce the chance of these malicious codes from circulating. Many users state outright that they will not accept attachments and if they receive them, they would certainly delete them and that is a highly recommended policy if it does not deter the working arrangement. In addition to that there are experts advising not to send or receive joke files, erotica or pornography, gif files unless they are work-related, and screensavers, because all these files can have any kind of virus attached to them and when they are opened the virus will execute its own instruction and the nightmare could start.
The second important step to take is to install a firewall around the system where no material will go through without the consent of the computer owner. It is a little bit rigid and could affect the performance of the computer while the checking mechanism is executed, but it could be worth it for some that do not want to lose valuable documents on their hard drive.
The next highly recommended step to take is to install anti-virus and anti-spy software, which have the capacity to hunt and destroy viruses the minute they execute their malware on the computer they install themselves. It is a proven method of keeping viruses out of a computer, but they need updating on regular intervals. What is taking place out there in Cyber Space is a war among companies that are selling anti-virus, anti-spy, or firewall software and those who are determined to make their life difficult. It is not only that most of the viruses that come into existence have a motive of being benefited financially, because some of them have the capability to steal sensitive information like credit card numbers, passwords, important documents, or execute instructions to alter search results to divert landing pages, where the intruders could get paid for diverting traffic form the normal pages, which means it is a matter of survival to outdo the anti-virus software and they always come up with new ways of getting around the existing security system.
Among the suggestions, there are some that recommend using the FireFox web browser, which they are saying has fewer vulnerabilities and holes when compared to Internet Explorer and the other popular web browsers. We should take this with a grain of salt, because the reason that it has less vulnerabilities could be because it is in use less than the others and it might not be as efficient as the others. One effective way of fighting these vulnerabilities is whenever they are spotted there will be an introduction of a patch that is available from Microsoft for example. In case the vulnerability is on Internet Explorer, Outlook, Words, or sometimes the Windows Operating System itself, for those with the expertise, keeping a follow-up of these changes helps a lot.
Among the various good advice available out there one of them is not to click on links on emails, whose source is unknown, because there are worms that could trigger their malware through such a process. The other important advice is to back up a system, at least the most important documents that are difficult to replace so that when something happens retrieving them is possible.
Downloading also allow viruses to cling on files and enable them to land on the downloading computer. They can execute themselves while the downloaded file is opened and some precaution should be taken there too. There are suggestions about floppy disks being a means of spreading viruses because they could have been in an infected environment and running them through an anti-virus program before using them could reduce the risk. To make things worse even visiting infected Web sites will expose surfers to be infected and the best way to protect from this haphazard disaster is to install the anti-virus software.
There ae many sites like Hotmail and Yahoo for example who have a built-in anti-virus system that is updated with the up to the minute new introductions that offer email service and if there is a virus they both can detect it immediately and will not allow the users to open the email, which is proven to be a very safe method of using email instead of allowing these numerous viruses to execute their malware in unregulated environment.
All in all, there are sites that keep track of these occurrences, and because their number is huge, it is only the activity of the top 20 viruses that can be tracked. They have a rank from 1 to 20 on the severity of the damage they cause and how many times in a month or in a year they recur, because some of them stay on the top of the list for a longer period and are fixtures that have to be tackled with on an ongoing basis. One site to visit to be familiar with the viruses that occur on a given month is www.viruslist.com/en/analysis.