9.41% of Britain’s computers are sick

ESET, a company that specialises in anti-virus software and security, reports on their website that around 9.41% of Britain’s computers are infected by viruses and malware. America by contrast is 4.59% which is a little surprising.

This page shows a virus map for the world and the infection rates on a country basis.

It also refers to several prevalent types of attack: Spearphishing, DDoS, Zero-day, Phishing and Zombie or Bot.

The Prestwood Village Association website is constantly subjected to Bot attacks, we use some special code that allows us to see them when they occur, and we use a number of methods to prevent hackers from getting into the site.

Top 10 Computer illnesses

The Top threats for the UK can be found on the statistics page. Nearly 50% of the “sick computers” are affected by the W97M/TrojanDownloader.Agent.NEE. It is highly prevalent in the UK. Unfortunately the information page on that Trojan Downloader does not tell you very much. So I did a search on it…..

What is a Trojan Downloader?

A Trojan Downloader is a malicious program typically installed through an exploit or some other deceptive means such as an Email attachment or Image download that allows the download to install malware onto a victim’s computer.

Trojan Downloaders are typically installed without user interaction through security exploits, and can severely compromise system security.

Typically site’s coding or images will become compromised through weak security, and allow for that code or image file to be re-written with malicious coding which when visited by an unsuspecting visitor, is downloaded onto their computer and is then infected.

The best protection against these types of Trojans is to ensure that your computer is fully up to date with the latest Security Updates and Patches. Also, ensure that you have Anti-Virus software and a Firewall configured to protect your computer. It is wise to schedule a full system scan of your computer with Anti-Virus software at least once a month with scheduled automatic updates.

(source: http://www.serverintellect.com/support/techfaq/trojan-downloader/)

 Am I infected?

There are several ways you can check, firstly though if you are using a paid AV/ Security program you are most likely protected. If you are using free anti-virus then you may be at risk. There are some ways you can check. Typically Banks have a vested interest in your systems security and offer online scanners that will check your computer system. So go to your Bank’s website and see if you can locate one.

Or there is one on the ESET website. It runs over the web and is free to use. http://www.eset.com/int/home//products/online-scanner/  This will not permanently install anything on your computer however it will run a detailed one off check. Symantec and McAfee will likely have something similar.

Good Housekeeping

There are several ways you can end up infected, as the article above indicates it can be through an infected website. Generally remember that if you click on something, then you are giving permission for something to happen. It may not be what you were expecting to happen.

Be particularly cautious of emails carrying links from sources that you do not recognise, or from sources you are familiar with but do not look quite right. An example of the latter case is when your best mate “John Doe” sends you an email with a link in it with little or no message accompanying the link, this is highly likely to lead to something you do not want. It can mean that John Doe’s system has been compromised and a hacker or person’s unknown have now got his contact list and are sending messages apparently from him to his colleagues, friends and family. I see these quite regularly from people. Delete them, or send it back to them (without clicking on the link) so they know they may have been compromised.

Use a decent anti-virus and security package if you are on a Windows computer. MAC users do not generally need to worry so much because the MAC O/S X operating system is more robust. I personally use ESET Smart Security and have done for over 15 years, but equally if you are using Symantec, or McAfee packages then you should be well protected. (There are others of course!). If you suspect something may have happened and are not using a robust AV package then use one of the online scanners from the leading security companies such as the one I have indicated above.

Is your computer up to date?

Have you updated your computer to the latest patches and fixes?

If not go to your start menu (On Windows computers only),  Look for Control Panel, and then select Windows Update. Follow the links on your local windows computer set up to install any outstanding updates. (see image below).

Windows Update

Protecting Web Browsers

McAfee have a free plugin for Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers that provides  ratings (Safe, Caution, Warning, Unknown) for any website you may wish to go to. Personally it gets in the way sometimes and may lead to false positives (when it indicates a risk exists, but there isn’t one), but it would be good security for a child’s computer system as a precaution. You can learn about it here: Site Advisor

Manually initiated virus/ security check

Run a virus scan occasionally to make sure your system is adequately protected. If you find something do not panic. There are usually solutions available on the web, do however take care not to pay for some service to remove it, the solutions while complex are generally available somewhere for free.


FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) are the tools marketeers use to convince you that you have a gaping hole and need to pay some money to fix it. The area of Anti-Virus and Computer Security is full of companies whose survival and stock price is dependent on frightening everyone to shell out some cash so that they can be protected. If you run an online scanner it may tell you that you have something on your system, but cannot remove it without paying for the annual subscription. Don’t feel pressured to buy any anti virus or security products if you don’t want to. Do however note what it reports and do a Google search on it. Establish whether it is a virus or simply malware. Malware is fairly harmless software you have picked up from somewhere. A virus on the other hand is something that you do need to remove.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *