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What is Computer Virus? Working, Types and Protection

In this article we show you What is a Computer Virus? Working, Types and Protection and discuss about all types of computer virus.

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A computer virus is a malicious piece of computer code designed to spread from device to device. A subset of malware, these self-copying threats are usually designed to damage a device or steal data.

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A computer virus is a piece of code embedded in a legitimate program. And is created with the ability to self-replicate infecting other programs on a computer. Just like how humans catch a cold or flu, it can remain dormant inside the system and gets activated when you least expect it.

It is developed to spread from one host to another and there are numerous ways on how your computer catches it. It can be through email attachments, file downloads, software installations, or unsecured links.

These viruses can steal your data such as passwords, hacked into your social media accounts or online banking accounts, and even wiped out all your data.

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How does a computer virus attack?

Once a virus has successfully attached to a program, file, or document, the virus will lie dormant until circumstances cause the computer or device to execute its code. In order for a virus to infect your computer, you have to run the infected program, which in turn causes the virus code to be executed.

This means that a virus can remain dormant on your computer, without showing major signs or symptoms. However, once the virus infects your computer, the virus can infect other computers on the same network. Stealing passwords or data, logging keystrokes, corrupting files, spamming your email contacts, and even taking over your machine are just some of the devastating and irritating things a virus can do.

While some viruses can be playful in intent and effect, others can have profound and damaging effects. This includes erasing data or causing permanent damage to your hard disk. Worse yet, some viruses are designe with financial gains in mind.

How does a computer get a virus?

Even if you’re careful, you can pick up computer viruses through normal Web activities like:  

  • Sharing music, files, or photos with other users
  • Visiting an infected website
  • Opening spam email or an email attachment
  • Downloading free games, toolbars, media players and other system utilities
  • Installing mainstream software applications without thoroughly reading license agreements

What are the symptoms of a computer virus?

Your computer may get infected if you recognize any of these malware symptoms:  

  • Slow computer performance
  • Erratic computer behavior
  • Unexplained data loss
  • Frequent computer crashes

Examples of computer viruses

The web contains millions of computer viruses, but only a few have gained popularity and infect record numbers of machines. Some examples of widespread computer viruses include:

  • Morris Worm
  • Nimda
  • ILOVEYOU
  • SQL Slammer
  • Stuxnet
  • CryptoLocker
  • Conficker
  • Tinba
  • Welchia
  • Shlayer

Common Types Of Computer Viruses

Cybercriminals are getting better and better at stealing our confidential data and the viruses that create and evolving rapidly. There are millions of viruses around the world, but here are some common types you should be aware of:

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1. File-infecting Virus

A virus that attached itself to an executable program. It is also called a parasitic virus. It typically infects files with .exe or .com extensions. Some file infectors can overwrite host files and others can damage your hard drive’s formatting.

2. Macro Virus

This type of virus is commonly present in programs such as Microsoft Word or Excel. These viruses are usually stored as part of a document and can spread when the files are transmitted to other computers, often through email attachments.

3. Browser Hijacker

This virus targets and alters your browser setting. It is often called a browser redirect virus because it redirects your browser to other malicious websites that you don’t have any intention of visiting. This virus can pose other threats such as changing the default home page of your browser.

4. Web Scripting Virus

A very sneaky virus that targets popular websites. What this virus does is overwrite code on a website and insert links that can install malicious software on your device. Web scripting viruses can steal your cookies and use the information to post on your behalf on the infected website.

5. Boot Sector Virus

These viruses are once common back when computers are booted from floppy disks. Today, these viruses are found distributed in forms of physical media such as external hard drives or USBs. If the computer is infected with a boot sector virus, it automatically loads into the memory enabling control of your computer.

6. Polymorphic Virus

This virus has the capability to evade anti-virus programs. Since it can change codes every time an infected file is performed.

7. Resident Virus

A resident virus stores itself on your computer’s memory which allows it to infect files on your computer. This virus can interfere with your operating system leading to file and program corruption.

8. Multipartite Virus

A type of virus that is very infectious and can easily spread on your computer system. It can infect multiple parts of a system including memory, files, and boot sector which makes it difficult to contain.

9. Worms

A worm is a type of virus that, unlike traditional viruses, usually does not require the action of a user to spread from device to device.

10. Trojans 

As in the myth, a Trojan is a virus that hides within a legitimate-seeming program to spread itself across networks or devices.

11. Ransomware

It is a type of malware that encrypts a user’s files and demands a ransom for its return. Ransomware can be, but isn’t necessarily, spread through computer viruses.

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Computer virus protection

When you arm yourself with information and resources, you’re wiser about computer security threats and less vulnerable to threat tactics. Take these steps to safeguard your PC with the best computer virus protection:  

  • Use antivirus protection and a firewall
  • Get antispyware software
  • Always keep your antivirus protection and antispyware software up-to-date
  • Update your operating system regularly
  • Increase your browser security settings
  • Avoid questionable Websites
  • Only download software from sites you trust.
  • Carefully evaluate free software and file-sharing applications before downloading them.  
  • Don’t open messages from unknown senders

Immediately delete messages you suspect to be spam

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