What are the Worst PC Viruses?

If you’ve never had a virus on your computer or laptop before, you might be tempted to write it all off as a load of fuss over nothing. After all, how much damage can a virus really cause? Can your data really be stolen and your identity stolen? Or can your computer be wrecked? The short answer is yes; viruses pose a massive threat. Here are some of the worst.

Released in 2013, Cryptolocker is a ransomware virus, a type of malicious software which holds your files to ransom, and is typically spread through infected attachments to emails, or as a secondary infection on computers which are already affected by viruses which offer a back door for further attacks. Cryptolocker only infects Windows PCs, so if you use an Apple computer, it can't affect you. Similarly, smartphones are safe from Cryptolocker. Approximately 0.4% of victims actually pay up, and in the first 100 days of release, the creators of Cryptolocker amassed a whopping $30 million. The worst part abour ransomware? In extreme cases, there is zero chance of you getting any data back unless you pay the cyber criminals for the key. Even a professional data recovery service probably won't be able to help you. 

The Storm Worm virus was identified in late 2006, and was named by the public after the subject of the email that carried the virus was “230 dead as storm batters Europe”. Storm Worm is a trojan horse, and as machines become infected, they become vulnerable to remote control by the person orchestrating the attack. Infected machines are turned into bots. This bot then performs automated tasks - anything from gathering data on the user, to attacking web sites, to forwarding infected e-mail - without its owner's knowledge or permission. Although the Storm Worm is widespread, it's not the most difficult virus to detect or remove from a computer system. If you keep your antivirus software up to date and remember to use caution when you receive e-mails from unfamiliar people or see strange links, you'll save yourself some major headaches.

The ILOVEYOU virus is considered one of the most destructive computer virus ever created, managing to wreck havoc on computer systems all over the world, causing damages totalling an estimate of $10 billion. The virus was created by two Filipino programmers, and aimed to get people to click on the attachment, which was supposed to be a love confession for the user. Once clicked, the ‘love letter, which is actually a malicious script, will send itself to everyone in the user’s mailing list and proceed to overwrite files with itself, making the computer unbootable. 10% of the world’s Internet-connected computers were believed to have been infected, and it was so bad that governments and large corporations took their mailing system offline to prevent infection.

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