I have always tried to write about genealogy and the underlying technology that is useful for genealogy research. I often write about computers, hardware, software, networks, scanners, photography, and other things that I think every genealogist with a computer should know. Along the way, I have often written about viruses because I always felt that virus knowledge is critical for all computer owners.
I used to write about the latest viruses once every few months. As time went by, I found myself writing about viruses more and more often. Now the rate at which new viruses are released has ballooned. If I had the time, I could be writing about newly-released viruses every day. That would detract from the time available to write about genealogy-related articles.
Effective immediately after this article is published, I will stop writing about new viruses.There are too many of them, especially for Windows.
Linux systems seem to never get viruses, and Macintosh has had exactly one mild virus in the past few years. That one virus didn't do much harm, other than to be obnoxious. In contrast, Windows has had more than one million different viruses, trojans, worms, and other malware reported as of a year and a half ago, and that number increases daily. Details may be found at http://www.cknow.com/cms/vtutor/number-of-viruses.html
I suggest you subscribe to any publication that is devoted to computer security issues. You can find several good security newsletters if you start at http://goo.gl/4VwNQ. For Windows users, I can suggest the free ZDnet newsletter that reports about viruses and many other things at http://nl.zdnet.com/acct_mgmt.sc?brand=zdnet&urs_auth=1 as well as the Windows Secrets newsletter, available in a free Standard Edition and a paid Plus Edition (sound familiar?) at http://windowssecrets.com/. Both are excellent publications, although a bit technical. I subscribe to both, including the Plus Edition of Windows Secrets. Be aware that neither is written for computer novices. You can find several other good newsletters for Windows users as well.
As a parting note, I can report that two new viruses have been reported today. Both of them are high risk, and the anti-virus companies have not yet had time to implement new detection and protection methods for them:
"GpCode ransomware" scrambles the files on your Windows hard drive, then demands payment of $120 to get your files back. In effect, your files have been kidnapped and are being held for ransom. (You do have backups, right?) See the picture above to see the message that will appear on your screen if you become infected with GpCode ransomware. Further details may be found at http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/gpcode-ransomware-returns-with-stronger-encryption/7760?tag=nl.e589
Facebook has still ANOTHER high risk problem for Windows users. It is another worm. (A worm is technically different from a virus, but the results are the same: someone is deliberately trying to cause damage to your Windows PC in order to get money or personal information from you. "Personal information" might include your bank account information and passwords, email password, and similar information that you don't want to share with criminals.)
Information on the latest Facebook worm for Windows users may be found at http://www.zdnet.com/blog/igeneration/facebook-infested-with-new-worm-more-proof-site-is-insecure/6955?tag=nl.e550
You might want to also read a report of the many Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress security problems that was published last week at http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2372214,00.asp
OK, no more virus reports in this newsletter.