The Risks of Viruses, Worms and Trojan Horses on Wireless

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Attackers design computer viruses to have many malicious effects. They can provide unauthorized access to computers, cause crashes and destroy files. Worms and Trojan horses are two kinds of computer viruses. In densely populated areas, such as cities or college campuses, dozens of wireless networks are available to passing mobile devices and computers. Since you cannot prevent any passerby from picking up wireless signals, wireless routers are vulnerable to computer viruses.

Worms and Trojan Horses

  • Computer worms are nuisances. Attackers program them to replicate themselves until they fill up all of your computer’s memory and hard drive space. Worms don’t alter files but they consume so much memory that the computer may slow down or crash frequently. The Trojan horse opens a backdoor into your computer and installs itself without your knowledge. It lets hackers spy on your computer usage and passwords, as well as use the computer for criminal activity.

Wireless Weaknesses

  • Wireless routers and networks are prime targets for computer hackers and viruses. The fact that you have your router constantly turned on and connected to the Internet means that a virus or hacker can continuously attempt to crack any password or security features. Many users fail to change the default password that comes with the router, making it easier to for attackers to guess the type of password. No specifically designed software exists for protecting wireless routers.

Wireless Mobile Devices

  • According to a 2003 SANS article, the most common ways a virus can infect a PDA are opening an infected email over an Internet connection, using an infected computer to sync the device, transferring an infected file from another PDA and downloading infected files from the Internet. Since mobile devices, such as MP3 players and some cell phones, back up their information on computers, it is easy to recover information. If you suspect a virus, reset the device and sync it with your usual computer to reload programs and information.

Reducing Risk

  • Always change the default password on a new router. Ensure that the new password doesn’t use the same sort of pattern of numbers and letters as the default password. Often passwords composed just of letters can be harder for viruses to crack because viruses are searching for a combination of letters and numbers. If you don't continuously need the Internet connection, it might be a good idea to shut off work routers before leaving work and to shut off the router at home while you are at work or sleeping.

References

  • Photo Credit wlan router 02 image by PM Photo from Fotolia.com
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