Helping you balance your online life

Sep 4th

2012

What is Zombie Computer Virus?

A zombie computer virus is a computer that's been infected by a computer virus or compromised by a hacker. It can be controlled under remote direction to perform criminal tasks, as well as infect other computers with viruses. A zombie computer can appear to be performing normally, making it hard for you to know that your computer has been compromised.

Detect a Zombie Virus On Your PCHow do you know if your computer has been infected by a Zombie virus?
If you believe your computer has been infected by a zombie virus, check for these signs (similar to those signs that indicate you've been hacked):
  • Your inbox contains mailing errors or mailer-daemon messages for email you didn't send.
  • People you know are getting emails from you that you didn't send.
  • There are outgoing messages in your Sent, Drafts or Outbox folder that you didn't create or send.
  • Your account folders (Sent, Deleted, Spam, Inbox, etc.) have been emptied or deleted.
  • Your Address Book contacts have been erased.
  • During sign-in or when sending a message, you're asked to pass an image challenge.
  • Emails you try to send are suddenly getting refused and returned to you.
  • There are contacts in your Address Book you didn't add.
  • You keep getting bumped offline when you're signed into your account.
  • Your email signature suddenly has a link you didn't put there.
  • You're not getting new mail.

What do you do if your computer has a Zombie virus?
  • Make sure you have antivirus software installed and updated. Virus scans search for any spyware, viruses or other malware that may have found their way onto your computer. Run scans frequently to make sure your computer is free of all malware. If you have not installed any antivirus software, visit AOL Lifestore's Computer Security page for more information and products.
  • Computer Security. Try an encrypted password protection for your home and office computer networks. Install a firewall to help block attacks from hackers.
  • Practice safe Web browsing habits. Don't click on Web links to sites you've never heard of before. If you encounter a pop-up window that prompts you to download antivirus software or claims that it will scan your computer for malware or viruses, don't click on it. Sometimes these pop-ups are scams -- clicking on them could install malware on your computer.
  • Change and create a strong password. Note that passwords should be at least six characters long and include at least one number, letter (combination of upper and lower cases) and special character ($, *, &, !, etc.). Make sure your new password is different from any other passwords you have used. Also, if you use the same password for other online accounts such as social media and financial services, change those passwords as well. It is strongly advised that you use different passwords for different social media accounts.
  • Make sure that your computer has the latest Windows updates, and is configured to receive them automatically. This will help to reduce the chance of your computer getting a virus in the first place.
  • Check your bank and credit statements. If you see any unusual activity, notify your bank and/or credit union of fraud.