Computer Virus: What you need to know and Best Practices (2022)
Hey cyber citizens! Today we’re going to talk about computer viruses. You may have heard of them before, but what are they?
Let’s begin with a short story. Once upon a time, a computer user got an email from a friend. The email had an attachment that looked cool, so the user downloaded it. However, once the user opened the attachment, the user’s computer began to act strange. Programs started opening and closing on their own, the screen started to flicker, and warnings from the computer popped up everywhere. The user’s computer was infected with a virus!
If this sounds familiar, you may have been a victim of a virus yourself. Computer viruses are malicious programs that can damage your computer, delete your files, or even steal personal information. In our story, the virus caused the computer to act strange and made it difficult for the user to work. However, some viruses can be even more destructive and disable a laptop altogether.
Viruses are usually spread through email attachments or by downloading infected files from the internet. That’s why it’s essential to be careful when opening email attachments and only download files from trusted sources.
If you think your computer may be infected with a virus, it’s essential to run a virus scan as soon as possible. Many free virus scanning tools are available online, and we recommend malwarebytes.com/antivirus/.cybercitizenship.org
This blog post will discuss what computer viruses are, how they spread, and what you can do to protect your computer from them.
So, let’s get started!
Computer virus definition
A computer virus is a software or program associated with a software application that can be copied or spread once a user first has a copy. It introduces malicious or unauthorized code that alters how a computer works and is designed to replicate itself by copying itself to another computer.
Viruses can delete files, damage systems, and even steal personal information. They are often spread through email attachments or by downloading infected files from the internet. Computer viruses can cause a lot of damage to your computer
What’s the difference: Virus vs. malware
Computer viruses and malware are both types of malicious software, but there are differences between them. Computer viruses are designed to replicate themselves and spread to other computers, while malware is intended to cause damage or gain access to personal information.
Although “viruses” or “malware” are often used interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing.
- A “virus” is malware designed to replicate itself and spread to other computers.
- “Malware,” on the other hand, is a catch-all term that refers to any malicious software, including viruses.
Viruses can target Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS
Computer viruses can infect any device that uses software, including Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS devices. However, they are most common on Windows computers. Windows is the most popular operating system, and there are more ways for viruses to spread on it.
Types of Computer Viruses Classifications
Some common examples of computer virus classifications include:
- Trojan horses are a virus disguised as harmless files or programs. When you execute the file or program, the Trojan horse will install a malicious program on your computer that can damage your system or steal your personal information.
- Worms: Worms are a virus designed to spread by copying themselves to other computers. Once a worm has infected one computer, it can quickly spread to other computers on the same network.
- Adware: Adware is a virus that displays advertisements on your computer. Adware can be annoying and sometimes even dangerous, as it can lead you to malicious websites.
- Spyware: Spyware is a virus designed to collect personal information, such as your passwords and credit card numbers. Spyware can be very dangerous, as it can allow hackers to gain access to your personal information.
- Ransomware: Ransomware is a virus that will encrypt your files and demand a ransom to decrypt them. Ransomware can be very difficult to remove and often requires you to pay the ransom to get your files back.
What Types of Computer Viruses
Boot sector virus
A boot sector virus is a type of virus that infects the boot sector of your computer. The boot sector is the part of your computer’s hard drive that stores information about how to start up your computer. Boot sector viruses can make it difficult or impossible for your computer to start up.
A file-infecting virus is a type of virus that infects files on your computer. If you share infected files, file-infecting viruses can damage or delete your files and spread them to other computers.
A macro virus is a type of virus that is embedded in a document or file. Macro viruses are often spread through email attachments and can damage or delete your files.
A polymorphic virus is a type of virus that can change its appearance to avoid detection. Polymorphic viruses are difficult to detect and remove and can cause a lot of damage to your computer.
A stealth virus is a type of virus that hides from antivirus software. Stealth viruses can be difficult to detect and remove and can cause a lot of damage to your computer.
A resident virus is a type that stays resident in your computer’s memory. Resident viruses can be difficult to remove and can cause a lot of damage to your computer.
A multipartite virus is a type of virus that can infect both files and boot sectors. Multipartite viruses are difficult to remove and can cause a lot of damage to your computer.
A browser hijacker is a virus that will change your browser’s settings, such as your home page and search engine. Browser hijackers can be annoying and can lead you to malicious websites.
Web scripting virus
A web scripting virus is a type of virus that is embedded in a web page. When you visit the infected web page, the virus will execute and can damage or delete your files. Web scripting viruses are often spread through email attachments and can be very dangerous.
File infector virus
A file infector virus is a type of virus that infects executable files. When you execute an infected file, the virus will spread to other files on your computer. File infector viruses can be tough to remove and can cause a lot of damage to your computer.
Direct action virus
A direct action virus is a type of virus that will execute when you open an infected file. Direct action viruses can be difficult to remove and can cause a lot of damage to your computer.
How do computer viruses spread?
Early computer viruses were spread by people sharing infected floppy disks. People would physically carry a floppy from an infected computer to another, and the virus would unknowingly install itself.
As the internet grew in popularity, viruses spread through email attachments. Simply opening an email with a virus would install itself onto your computer. Viruses can spread through social media, websites, and even text messages. All it takes is for you to click on a malicious link, and the virus will start infecting your computer.
Here are some of the most common ways that viruses spread:
- Email attachments: One of the most common ways for viruses to spread is through email attachments. If you receive an email with an attachment from someone you don’t know, or if the email looks suspicious, do not open it.
- Downloading infected files: Another way viruses can spread is by downloading infected files from the internet. Pirated software is a common source of viruses. Be careful when downloading files from websites, and only download files from trusted sources.
- Infected websites: Another way viruses can spread is by visiting infected websites. When you see an infected website, your computer can become infected with a virus without you even knowing it. That’s why it’s essential to be careful when browsing the internet and only visit trusted websites.
- Infected ads: Ads are another common way for viruses to spread. When you click on an infected ad, your computer can become infected with a virus. That’s why it’s essential to be careful when clicking on ads and only click on ads from trusted sources.
Common signs of computer virus (How to know if your computer is infected)
Computer viruses can have adverse effects on the device they reside in and may become apparent when the device possesses the usual symptoms.
Mass emails sent to your email account
Computer viruses can be transmitted through email, and hackers use other users’ email accounts in the hope of spreading viruses or carrying out more sophisticated cyber attacks.
Crashing of the Device
System crashes and the computer’s unexpected shutdown may indicate the presence of viruses. Computer viruses make computers behave strangely by opening a document themselves, displaying a strange message, and clicking keys randomly.
Occasionally, pop-up windows on the web can signal an infection—unwanted pop-ups indicate malicious viruses or spyware on your device.
Typically computer programs close in unexpected proximity and are likely to contain viruses/malware infection. A virus can cause applications not to load on the Start button or their Desktop icon.
Accounts are lagging out.
Some viruses are designed to cause-specific applications to crash, forcing users to exit from the service or causing an error on an internet connection when trying to open a web page.
Speed of System
Sometimes computers are running slower. Among the problems is the system runs very slowly. Often computers have software that runs slow.
Changes to Your Homepage
The presence of malware on a system may indicate the existence of viruses in the system.
Computer viruses can be used to change your homepage or default search engine without permission.
Ads Displaying on Websites
When you visit a website, malware on the system may open new tabs or windows that show advertisements.
These are some of the most common ways viruses spread and the symptoms of a computer virus. If you think your computer may be infected, it’s crucial to run a virus scan as soon as possible.
Computer viruses can have severe consequences for both individuals and businesses. They can cause data loss, financial damage, and even system failure. That’s why it’s essential to be careful when using computers and only download files from trusted sources. If you think your computer may be infected with a virus, it’s crucial to run a virus scan as soon as possible.
How do I remove and prevent computer viruses?
If you think your computer is infected with a virus, you can do a few things to remove the virus and protect your computer from future infections.
1. Run a virus scan: The first thing you should do is run a virus scan. There are many different antivirus programs available, and they can all help remove viruses from your computer.
2. Delete infected files: Once you’ve run a virus scan, you should delete any infected files found on your computer. Doing so will help prevent the virus from spreading or causing further damage.
3. Install an antivirus program: An antivirus program can help to protect your computer from future infections by scanning for and removing viruses before they have a chance to cause any damage.
4. Keep your computer updated: Keeping your computer’s operating system and software up-to-date can help protect it from new viruses and malware.
5. Be careful when downloading files: One of the most common ways to spread viruses is downloading infected files from the internet. Be sure to only download files from trusted sources, and be careful when opening email attachments.
6. Use a pop-up blocker: Pop-ups often signify a virus infection. You can protect yourself from these pop-ups using a pop-up blocker extension for your browser.
7. Disable file sharing: If you don’t need to share files with other computers on your network, disable file sharing. Doing so will help to prevent viruses from spreading through your network.
8. Keep your firewall enabled: A firewall can help to protect your computer from virus infections by blocking incoming connections from potential threats. Be sure to keep your firewall turned on and up-to-date.
9. Avoid clicking on links in an email. One of the most common ways people get viruses is by clicking on links in email messages. If you’re not sure whether a link is safe, it’s best to avoid clicking on it.
10. Back up your data: Regularly backing up your data can help you recover from virus infection. If your computer does get infected, you can restore your data from a backup and avoid losing important files.
Computer viruses can have serious consequences, but there are things you can do to protect your computer. Be sure to run a virus scan regularly, and keep your computer’s software up-to-date. It would be best to be careful when downloading files and clicking on links in email messages.
If you think your computer has been infected with a virus, it’s vital to take action right away to remove the virus and protect your computer from future infections.
Thank you for reading Cyber Citizens! We hope you found this article helpful. Stay safe out there!
An intriguing discussion is worth a comment. I think you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject, but typically, folks don’t discuss these issues. To the next! All the best!!