The curse of computers everywhere, even those not connected to any network, is the dreaded computer virus along with trojans, adware, spyware, keyloggers and all sorts of other types of nasty malware.. and some of them are very nasty indeed. For example the cryptolocker trojan which encrypts data on an infected system and demands payment of a ransom to decrypt that data, which many victims end up doing out of desperation and because the loss of income to a business due to not being able to access the data outweighs the cost of the ransom.
Malware most commonly affects Windows based systems but of course not only for technical reasons but also due to the fact that it is a more popular platform with users and so a bigger target for virus developers who don’t want to waste time developing for a platform with so much less potential for destruction and mayhem.
Linux on the other hand has relatively few issues with malware infections and in fact Linux antivirus software is not anywhere near as commonplace or in demand because it is much less often required. Which is not to say a Linux system is never infected with anything nasty – rootkits for Linux servers are also quite common and many a well known web based PHP app has provided a convenient gateway to a Linux server for a nasty rookit which then allows hackers in to the system to wreak havoc.
Somewhat related to Linux is Android and being extremely popular now makes it potentially a target for virus developers so of course antivirus developers are busy adding android antivirus to their tools to jump on that bandwagon early.
There are many antivirus tools to choose from these days, some that will try to prevent infection, others which will try to clean up an already infected system and some which do both. It is quite common practice to use more than one virus scanner as no AV tool is 100% effective at finding and cleaning infections.
A popular service used by many IT service providers is GFIMAX and not only does GFI provide an RMM service but they also have a managed anti-virus service which is based on Vipre and supports Windows and Android.
While most AV tools are software which must be installed on the PC, there are in fact some which are web based services so nothing needs to be installed at all. One such tool is VirusTotal which will scan any file uploaded to their system and report back the ‘totals’. This provides a nice quick way to scan a file, for example a zip file or exe which you may have received or also to provide proof of virus free status (by including a link to the latest scan using a hash) for a file you may be sending to someone else. VirusTotal also includes an API so developers can easily embed virus scanning into their own apps or services.
Of course the last chance saloon when it comes to computer virus infections is the backup – hopefully you or you clients have working and recoverable backups!