Some Canadians believe that only the gullible or tech-illiterate can be affected by computer viruses. Do you believe that's true? (iStock)
Canadians are being warned about two scenarios in which they could be cut off from their computers, the internet, or both.
- Thousands of Canadians could lose access to the internet on July 9 after the FBI shuts down the temporary Domain Name System servers they used to assist victims of a massive internet fraud ring.
Those affected by the 'DNSChanger' virus may be unable to connect until they clear the bug from their computer.
- Additionally, RCMP fraud investigators are warning of malicious software " that causes computers to freeze and display pop-up messages from law-enforcement impersonators.
Victims are told that their computers will remain locked until they pay a $100 fee - but doing so doesn't free up the computer, which remains infected with malware.
Both scams could catch thousands of Canadians in their dragnets, but a vocal contingent of CBC readers seem to believe it couldn't happen to them.
Many comments implied that such viruses only affect gullible, tech-illiterate or even "stupid" people, and that users who can't protect themselves deserve to deal with the consequences.
One of the most active comments suggested those who are victimized have "no business being online."
But others argued that viruses can affect anyone, even the highly tech-savvy and careful among us. Some even admitted that they have been targeted.
- " I was already notified that I am affected by [the 'DNSChanger' virus] and have yet to get it fixed. I have great luck!" - times_up
- " Use the link in the article or better still have a friend download the rescue disk and run it. You should be okay then. Good luck." - its my say
If you've ever had to do damage control after spam was sent out in your name, or if you found out the hard way that virus protection software isn't perfect, you can probably empathize.
Online security experts say that malicious code can be clever, and very sophisticated. The Flame computer virus discovered in May, for instance, went unnoticed for as long as five years, they say.
One of the inherent flaws in cyber security, according to cyber-security expert Brian Bourne, is the fact that anti-virus software is unable to identify entirely new types of viruses that don't exhibit documented behaviour.
He doesn't like to place blame on the average computer user for his or her lack of vigilance.
"Expecting that a user will become expert enough to know what to do and when to do it and when not do it just doesn't sound reasonable," he said.
Has your computer ever been infected by a virus? Do you know how it happened? Please share your cautionary tales in the comments below.
(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' replies.)
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