As 2020 continues, technological advancements continue to move forward at rapid rates. Unfortunately, viruses and malware aren’t far behind. Each new year brings a new host of viral threats or improvements to previous ones, leaving businesses and individuals alike vulnerable to attack.
Computer Virus Threats in 2020
A few of the most concerning viruses this year are more advanced versions of already-active programs, some of which we covered in this 2019 article. Though they’re no less of a threat now, we’ll be taking a closer look at several newer viruses or malware programs that are expected to be particularly difficult to combat in 2020. These newer threats include:
- Cyborg ransomware
- Ryuk Ransomware
- Emotet Malware
The GoBrut computer virus slows down your internet and steals passwords by guessing different combinations of numbers and letters until it finds the right one. While this may sound like low-level hacking, and in some ways it is, this virus is still capable of cracking passwords to different websites. And the weaker your password is, the less time this virus needs to spend guessing it. The best way to protect yourself against this virus is to use strong, reliable passwords and change them regularly.
2) Cyborg Ransomware
The Cyborg virus, sometimes called Aids Info Disk Trojan, can be created and distributed by anyone in possession of the software builder. This virus has been around since the days of floppy disks, but most recently gained notoriety in 2019 when a fake Windows 10 update began circulating. Victims received a message saying their files were encrypted and demanding payment.
Unfortunately, once the virus has installed itself, there’s no currently known way to get rid of it and recover the stolen files. If you haven’t already updated to Windows 10, your best bet of safety is to ensure that your download comes from an official Microsoft source, not a random email attachment.
Pro Tip: If you haven’t already downloaded your Windows 10 upgrade, make sure to get it from Microsoft’s website. Any other source that offers the upgrade is suspicious and could be a virus in disguise.
3) Ryuk Ransomware
Ryuk ransomware spreads through spam emails or through a secondary malware, Emotet (more on Emotet below). Ryuk primarily attacks businesses, encrypting their files and destroying any backups before demanding payment. And, like most ransomware, it’s nearly impossible to find decryption software or options available to the public. The best way to deal with this virus is to not let it in to begin with. Never download email attachments from senders you don’t know or trust, and back up all your files in a separate location so you don’t need to play games with someone holding your data hostage.
Named for the poker card joker image that serves as this virus’s logo, this program is a ransomware-as-a-service offered by sketchy websites. Anyone who wants to can download this virus and use it against others, encrypting their data and demanding money. Once again, removing this virus is difficult once it’s installed. The best methods of protection are to practice safe online browsing habits and keep your security systems up to date.
5) Emotet Malware
This malware is another form of ransomware primarily targeting users in Japan. Taking advantage of the coronavirus panic, the developers of this malware send emails with attachment claiming to have crucial information on the outbreak. When the user has clicked the link or downloaded the attachment, their files are quickly encrypted (or Ryuk ransomware installs itself) and a ransom message is sent.
If you suspect you’ve received such an email, don’t download any attachments or click on any links. Update your virus protections and, if you really want to check the links, type them into a search engine or URL checker.
Keep Your Computers Safe
While some viruses may target individuals more often than businesses, at the end of the day, hackers are just after money and/or private data. And any victim can usually provide one or the other. Never assume that you’re invulnerable to viral attacks. Only vigilance, knowledge of common threats, and investing in reliable protection programs can give you the protection you need in an increasingly cyber-driven world.
Join the conversation to learn more about protecting yourself from common computer viruses this year.