bigstock-Computer-Virus-2490818In 2014, these bad guys have turned some companies absolutely upside-down. What are they, what did they do, and are you prepared for them?

Many companies weren’t – and still aren’t. Take a look at the worst viruses of 2014 – and make sure you have great Managed IT Services in place to protect you:

1. Ransomware

You’ve probably already heard about these. But it’s worth mentioning them again. Cryptolocker, Cryptowall, BitCrypt, and CryptorBit all get on your computer and then force you to pay them $300 or so to regain access to your files. The FBI thought it had stuffed cyber criminals’ ability to spread this virus in May, but it turns out a simple workaround can cause all of these ransomware viruses to spread again. They use servers in countries with ineffective governments – like Ukraine and Thailand.

2. Alureon (AKA TDSS)

This one’s a Trojan, and its primary goal is to steal your customer’s credit card data, and also search your network traffic for usernames and passwords. You get it by downloading “security software” called Security Essentials 2010.

3. Goner

This one actually just recently erupted, and it’s one of the fastest-spreading viruses ever. Once you get it, the virus mass e-mails itself and attempts to destroy your anti-virus software. You get an e-mail with the subject “Hi,” and then a brief message. You also get an attachment labeled “gone.scr.” To semi-literate computer users, .scr files could be Windows screensavers. As always, follow internet safety best practices and never download attachments from people you don’t know or who never send them to you.

4. Bash Bug

This one exploits a programming flaw. There’s a piece of software in Unix-based systems called “Bash.” It’s been around since 1989. Computers that create bitcoins, as well as servers, routers, medical devices, and systems that run power plants and even Android-based phones are at risk. It’s a command shell, which means that if criminals access it, they can tell your device exactly what to do. Some experts believe it could cause more trouble than Heartbleed.

5. Sobig.F

Goner may be one of the fastest-spreading internet viruses of all time, but so far, Sobig.F is the fastest. It’s a form of e-mail spam. Again, it works by unleashing when you open a lethal e-mail attachment. Instead of e-mailing all your contacts a single time, it e-mails them all multiple times. Some experts believe it could slow down the internet by 60%, although that may be a bit of an exaggeration.

Viruses are just too much to keep up with. That’s why it’s important to have an IT support team in place to perform regular computer and network maintenance to keep you safe!