You, my friend, have just contracted a computer virus. It can delete files, display mischievous or devious messages, corrupt data, steal financial information, or forcibly email itself to all of your contacts.
It’s common knowledge that computer viruses are a pain in the you-know-what. What you may not know, however, is that small businesses are increasingly at risk, and the costs related to cybersecurity breaches are also increasing. It’s projected that by the end of 2016, computer hackers using viruses and other tools will have cost companies across the globe a total of $445 billion. But here’s a question we bet you’ve never asked yourself: What if those same computer viruses could infect not only our computers, but our bodies? What havoc would they wreak? How contagious would each one be?
Curious? So were we, which is why we conducted this creative speculation using real computer viruses:
Except, it’s not – not at all. Because once you open up this virus, it destroys your photos and files (bid farewell to that epic shot of Fluffy and – even worse – that Year in Review report you’ve been working on for three months) and then spreads itself via email to your other contacts. It was estimated that the cost of this virus for businesses and government organizations was around $15 billion dollars!
If the virus could jump out of the computer and into your head, you’d be strolling through the office ripping your photos and files to shreds, then burning them to a cindery non-existence, all while passing the “love” onto the person in the next cubicle.
If this virus was in the real world, it would be like contracting Alzheimers – thus allowing bad actors to easily take your passwords and private data without your permission, then use that for their own purposes or to sell it to others.
Sound familiar? This common virus is increasingly playing out on computer screens across the world – with a black screen telling those who’ve contracted it that if they wire a lot of money to an anonymous account, they can have their computer files back. If not? Those computer files – the photos of your last vacation, the novel you’ve been working on for 10 years, the business data you’ve been meaning to back up – are locked up forever. The FBI has noted that there has been a 300% increase in attacks from January 2015 to January 2016 – which means over 4000 attacks in the U.S. every day!
If this virus were a real-world threat, it would hold your life hostage like someone purposefully making you have an allergic reaction and then demanding money for an adrenaline shot. And all because of a simple accidental download!
In real life, adware would be like acne – on steroids. Pop one pimple and two more take its place. Pop those two and get yourself four.
The Malicious Internet … And How to Stay Safe
While the idea of computer viruses getting into our own bloodstreams is a decidedly fictional one, the danger these viruses pose to your computers and data is not. A virus can steal your private information, your identity, the files you value, or your financial information. It can hold your data hostage and can even turn your computer against you, using your own video and audio tools to record you against your will. The U.S. government and other government entities around the world are currently trying to deal with issues related to cybersecurity.
We’re joining millions of security-concerned citizens nationwide during National Cyber Security Awareness Month to remind you that viruses are no joke and that we should take measures to protect ourselves as best we can. We encourage you to print out these “hacked” World War II posters to remind those in your workplace that cyber safety is everybody’s responsibility!
We grant permission to use the images found on this page freely. When doing so, we ask that you kindly attribute the creators by linking to MonsterCloud and this page so your readers can learn more about this project and its methodology.