A computer virus, much like a flu virus which is designed to spread from host to host and has the ability to replicate itself. Similarly, in the same way, that flu viruses cannot reproduce without a host cell, computer viruses cannot reproduce and spread without programming such as a file/document.
In more technical terms, a computer virus is a type of malicious code or program written to alter the way a computer operates and it is designed to spread from one computer to another. A virus operates by inserting/attaching itself to a legitimate program or document that supports macros in order to execute its code. In the process, a virus has the potential to cause unexpected or damaging effects, such as harming the system software by corrupting/destroying data.
How does a computer virus attack?
Once a virus has successfully attached to a program, document or file, the virus will lie dormant until circumstances cause the computer or device to execute its code. In order for a virus to infect the computer, you have to run the infected program, which in turn causes the virus code to be executed.
It means that a virus can remain dormant on your computer, without showing major signs or symptoms. However, once the virus infects the computer, the virus can infect other computers on the same network. Stealing data or passwords, 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 effect and intent, others can have profound and damaging effects. This includes causing permanent damage or erasing data to your hard disk. Worse yet, some viruses are designed with the financial gains in mind.
How do computer viruses spread?
In a constantly connected world, you can contract computer virus in many ways, some more obvious than others. Viruses can be spread through text messages and email attachments, Internet file downloads, and social media scam links. Your smartphones and mobile devices can become infected with mobile viruses through shady app downloads. Viruses can hide disguised as attachments of socially shareable content such as funny greeting cards, images, or audio and video files.
To avoid contact with a virus, it’s important to exercise caution when surfing the web, downloading files, and attachmentsor opening links. To help stay safe, never download email attachments or text that you’re not expecting, or files from websites you don’t trust.
What are the signs of a computer virus?
A computer virus attack can produce variety of symptoms. Here are some of them:
- Frequent pop-up windows. Pop-ups might encourage you to visitunusual sites or they might prod you to download other software programs or antivirus.
- Changes to your homepage. Your usual homepage may be change to another website, for instance, Plus, you may be unable to reset it.
- Mass emails being sent from your e-mail account. A criminal may take control of your e-mail account or send emails in your name from another infected computer.
- Frequent crashes. Virus can inflict major damage on hard drive. This may cause your device to crash or freeze. It may prevent your device from coming back on.
- Unusually slow computer performance. The Sudden change of processing speed could signal that your computer has a virus.
- Unknown programs which start up when you turn on your computer. You may become aware of the unfamiliar program when you start the computer, or you might notice it by checking your computer’s list of active applications.
- Unusual activities like password changes. This could prevent you from logging into computer.
How to help protect against computer viruses?
How can you help to protect your devices against computer viruses? Here are some of things you can do to help keep your computer safe.
Use a trusted antivirus product, such as Avast Anti-Virus , and keep it updated with the latest virus definitions.
Avoid clicking on any pop-up advertisements on web.Always scan your email attachments before downloading them.
Always scan your files that you download using file sharing programs.
What are the different types of computer viruses?
- Boot sector virus
- Web scripting virus
- Browser hijacker
- Resident virus
- Direct action virus
- Polymorphic virus
- File infector virus
- Multipartite virus
- Macro virus
How to remove computer viruses
You can take two approaches to remove a computer virus. First is the manual do-it-yourself approach. The second is by enlisting the help of a reputable antivirus program.
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