You’re surfing the internet one day, then all of a sudden an name on your buddy list that you haven’t talked to in years IMs you a random blurb. It’s a URL to a website that you don’t know or identify. The URL layout is odd, the end sign is unknown (it’s not .com) and it looks like a pile of gibberish. You click it anyways.
Bad move. Now you’re infected.
99% of the time, websites like those are virus websites that hackers have taken over and infected (the other 1% of the time, it’s just spam.) The same method can be sent through emails in the form of just a straight email with a website, or even a full bio on the website itself and tells you to “click here for free stuff!” or something similar. We’ve all seen those. This is the newest way viruses are getting around, but by far won’t be the last.
The older ways of sending viruses through attachments are still around, however thankfully webmail and other email services are getting much better at cracking down on viruses and possible viruses. For instance, Gmail has a zero tolerance policy with .exe, .bat and .cmd files. Any of those file types will result in immediate removal of the attached file before the email is sent off.
Other methods that viruses get distributed through include transfer from infected flash drives, infected hard drives, and over a home or office network. If one computer is infected on the network, any computer that is also attached to that network is also at risk for infection.