If you’re someone who follows the news, you’ve likely heard about the Target hack. Several years ago, right around Christmas, hackers were able to gain access to the store’s systems and steal customers’ credit card information. It was a PR disaster for the retailer.

There was also the time when a North Korea programmer attacked Sony.

A statement from the FBI indicated that malicious actors were responsible for the cyberattack, with the intention of causing harm to financial institutions, entertainment companies and in some cases, defense contractors. One of the attacks involved was done with the intention of extorting money from the well-known entertainment company.

An equally famous attack involved happened in 2016, when hackers were able to initiate a fraudulent bank transfer to the tune of $81 million.

Yet hackers don’t always choose to target multi-million-dollar companies. Sometimes, they target individuals.

Several years ago, there was a movie that highlighted how every-day normal citizens are victimized. As part of the plot, a housewife had struck up an online friendship with a man she met online. The woman had a sick child, and the man she was corresponding with claimed his son had the same ailment.

At some point in time during their correspondence, he sent her a file attachment; and while the file seemed secure enough (it was a photo of his “son”), what she didn’t realize was that the file contained a virus, which gave the man access to her computer. He was able to track her keystrokes and in a few short days, had access to her bank account info.

The account was later cleaned out.

Malware comes in all shapes and sizes

Sometimes, viruses delete or corrupt files. They often spread uncontrollably. The most common way people wind up with computer viruses involves opening up an executable file. If you get an email from someone you don’t know or don’t trust, and the email includes a file attachment, don’t open it.

Adware is also a problem. If you’re at your computer and you suddenly find yourself bombarded by a million pop-ups, adware is likely the culprit.

What to do if you’re infected

Removing viruses and malware isn’t impossible, but it can be tricky for the average person. If you don’t uninstall it properly, you could find yourself dealing with even more problems.

If you’re not a computer person, that’s OK. At Rocky Mountain Computer Specialists, we have years of experience in helping people just like you with problems just like this. Trust us, we’ve seen it all.

Although the best protection from malware involves taking steps to make sure you don’t get infected (antivirus software is a good first step), there are times when even the most cautious computer users find themselves dealing with a problem.

If you have questions about the types of steps you should be taking to protect yourself from computer viruses and malware, or you’re interested in learning more about how antivirus software and/or  a VPN can help give you an extra layer of protection, call us today and we’ll be happy to speak with you.