What is a computer virus?
Computers are devices that have brought convenience and ease to our lives. These incredible devices have grown over the years to become incredibly useful. From entertainment to work, a computer can do it all.
They are incredibly simple to use and you can customize them to your liking. However, our computers face some risks that are often overlooked by many people. One of the most common problems you may encounter are viruses.
Viruses are built by cyber criminals and their sole purpose is to cause problems for computer users. You don’t want to fall victim to computer viruses, so it’s best to use good antivirus software to stay protected. If you want to learn more about computer viruses and how to protect your device, keep reading!
What is a computer virus
A computer virus is a type of malicious software, also known as malware. The intent of a computer virus is almost always malicious, and the virus will aim to damage your device in some way depending on what it was programmed to do.
Just like their biological counterparts, computer viruses can spread from device to device. This can often happen when a virus attaches itself to email or a physical media device such as a hard drive or USB flash drive.
Unlike biological viruses, however, computer viruses are man-made and developed by cybercriminals. The virus can be programmed to do whatever the cybercriminal would like it to do. For example, if they want the virus to be just annoying, they can program it to send endless pop-up ads to your device. However, many viruses have much more malicious intentions and can be used to delete your files, data, and in some more serious cases, they can even destroy your entire operating system. We’ll cover some of the more common types of viruses you might encounter below.
Different types of viruses
Since viruses can be programmed with a specific function and functionality in mind, different types of viruses can end up on your device. It is important to be able to distinguish between these different viruses because each one is unique and targets different areas of your device.
- Boot Sector Virus – These viruses can spread through computer storage systems and media. This can include anything from hard drives to USB drives. These viruses are difficult to remove and often require the storage or media device to be completely reformatted, erasing all data in the process.
- Viruses infecting files – These are some of the most common viruses. These are viruses that overwrite code in executable files. When the infected file is opened by the user, it will be destroyed. This virus will also spread if the file is shared with other people. These viruses are usually spread through e-mail. This virus will start infecting files on your device and destroying them. The only way to remove this virus is to delete the infected files. This means that you risk losing a lot of your hard work if your data is not backed up.
- Resident viruses – Some of the most dangerous viruses out there. They can often go undetected by anti-virus software because they hide in a computer’s RAM. They can also clone themselves if the original virus is removed.
- Webscript Virus – A virus often found on popular websites. It can steal your cookies (online data). What is more dangerous with this virus is that it overwrites a website’s code, allowing it to insert links that will install other malware on your device when clicked.
How do viruses enter our devices
Viruses can enter our device in several ways. However, the most common way your device can detect a virus is through malicious links. These links can come from different places.
For example, phishing scams are often used by cybercriminals to trick their victims into installing malicious software, such as viruses, on their devices. Phishing scams are common and have grown significantly over the years, making them much harder to spot than ever. Phishing scams don’t always come in the form of emails either, as hackers can also send malicious links via social media posts.
Sometimes malicious links can be placed on the internet by cyber criminals. These are even easier to drop because the links can be disguised as images, pop-up ads, or even icons. Each time a victim clicks on any of them, the virus gets installed on their device.
So it is extremely difficult for people to avoid viruses on their devices. It is easy to fall into one of these malicious links while browsing the Internet, and often the virus can be installed on the victim’s device without their knowledge.
It is best to try to avoid sketchy links in emails and messages at all costs. You should also try to avoid clicking on illegitimate links while browsing the Internet. It’s impossible to always avoid these links, but luckily there is software you can use as a safety net just in case.
How to protect your device against viruses
The best way to protect your device against a virus is to use premium antivirus software. Antivirus software will continuously scan your device for viruses, and if viruses are found, it can take steps to remove them from your device before they cause more damage.
It is crucial to ensure that your anti-virus software is always up to date. Software updates are often sent out to ensure that there are no flaws or bugs in the software. They also add additional layers of defense against new tactics developed by cybercriminals to circumvent antivirus software.
However, you should not rely solely on antivirus software to protect your device. As a user, you should be careful at all times and stay aware of what is happening on your device. Prevention is the best form of defense, and it’s always best to avoid phishing scams and sketchy links you might find online.
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