This article is going to take you through computer viruses, how they spread, the effects and how to protect yourself. Your computer may have started acting weird lately, and you notice that it has become slow as well. You might start to see some files have been deleted when you are sure that you did not delete them.
In most cases, this could be the work of a computer virus that has found its way onto your computer, causing havoc on the computer.
Table of Contents
What Is A Computer Virus?
A computer virus is software that clinches itself onto legit applications and software on a computer or device to enable it to reproduce and spread itself on the computer.
Programmers make viruses just like real legitimate applications created by programmers.
They are mostly deployed by their creators to cause damage to computers or to take control of it. The name ‘virus’ was derived as a result of the way through which it infects its targets.
A computer virus has a code snippet that allows it to insert itself into other applications and software. When you run the application which has the virus snippet, it executes the code snippet and installs the virus on the new computer. A virus is a type of malware with the other type being the Trojan, which looks harmless until it starts executing.
Worms can spread and reproduce themselves very fast and independently without using any application as a transfer mode. Viruses, however, need to infect applications and programs before they can do their work.
The First Virus Created
The first-ever virus created in history was the Elk Cloner, created by a 15-year old boy in 1982.
What Viruses Do
Once the infected file or application gets onto the computer, the virus code immediately loads itself into the computer’s CPU before any legitimate files or applications can load themselves.
The virus then begins to infect other applications on the computer. It inserts its virus code in almost every place it can.
A resident virus typically does this, whiles a non-resident virus can infect files and programs even if they are not operating.
Boot sector viruses use a technique whereby they insert their code into the boot system of the computer.
This step causes the viruses to executive even before the operating system has been loaded.
When the execution of the virus has been done, it then starts to execute its payload on the computer.
Some of the things the virus will do depend on what it was built to do. These include scanning your computer for confidential information like your banking information, stealing your passwords, and turning your computer into an assault.
Viruses can even encrypt your computer data and hold it hostage, demanding payment in the form of Bitcoin before your data would be released back to you.
What Are The Most Common Viruses On Computers?
Web Scripting Virus
These are the types of viruses that overite code on a website and then place links inside, installing malicious software on your device. After that, the attacker can then do whatever he wants.
As the name suggests, this virus makes settings on your browser, and anytime you try to visit any website, it then redirects you to other malicious websites.
The virus first stores itself on your computer from there. It then obstructs the operating system and targets your computer files.
This virus is considered to be one of the most dangerous viruses because when it gets to your computer, anti-virus can’t even notice them since it continuously changes its codes.
These are the types of viruses that are hidden inside Microsoft Excel or Word. The virus stored as a document can spread itself from the document when it gets on your computer.
How They Spread
Viruses used to spread from computer to computer through mediums like floppy disks. Today, however, instead of applying to their host through the internet itself.
They still spread through data-sharing mediums such as pen drives and CDs. Some ‘gangsta’ viruses can hijack an email account and then mail out copies of its code.
They can also be accidentally downloaded (unaware by the user) from an infected app store or repository.
However, in an email, you can only get the virus if you open and download the virus’s attachment.
Effects Of Computer Virus
There are several ways through which you can tell when your computer has been infected with a virus.
Since viruses will certainly not let you know that it is messing with you, you will make to detect it yourself.
A computer virus will cause havoc behind the scenes without destroying your computer so that it can use it as a vehicle to spread to other computers.
There are some ways through which you can detect if a virus is messing with your computer, and some of them are;
Signs To Know Your Computer Might Be Infected With Virus
- The computer becomes slow.
- It crashes frequently
- When turned on, some programs you do not know start running.
- Emails being sent without your permission.
- Making changes to things on your computer
- Files disappearing
- Virus removal
Once you notice a virus on your computer, the next thing to do automatically will be to remove the virus.
There are several ways through which you can remove the virus from your computer. Some viruses are more stubborn than others.
How To Remove A Virus From Your Computer
One of the most common ways to remove viruses from your computer is to install antivirus software on it.
The ironic and funny thing here is that. Some viruses are created by their owners just so their creators can sell you antivirus software to make money.
But it seems we don’t have much choice regarding that.
After downloading the antivirus software and installing it on the computer, you then run a scan with the software.
It will detect the virus on the computer and then clean it. However, some viruses are powerful because they could hide from the antivirus or even prevent the antivirus from working altogether.
In this case, you would need antivirus software that is up to date to clean the virus. This move is one reason why it is advisable to update your antivirus whenever it prompts you to do so.
If the antivirus does not do a proper clean-up in a given time, then you would have no option but to perform a total clean of your hard drive.
When this happens, it would mean that the virus has spread itself over almost every part of the computer, thereby bringing down the computer’s defenses. Performing total clean is the only way it would be taken off the computer.
Here is all you need to know about a computer virus, its effects, how it spread, and how to fight them.
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