Computer Virus; a threat that’s going to sustain forever!

Computer virus

A computer virus is a type of malicious program that has the capability to replicate itself by changing the programs of other systems and inserting its own code. This happens only when the user executes the malicious program, knowingly or unknowingly. If the replication of the virus is successful, then the system is said to be “infected” by a computer virus.

A computer virus is so similar to a biological virus that is capable to spread from one host to another by replicating itself. Similarly in the same way that the viruses cannot reproduce without a host cell, computer viruses cannot reproduce and spread without program such as a file or document.

A virus is technically a malicious code that is programmed to change the way a computer operates and also to spread from one system to another. A virus works by attaching itself to a legalized program or document that supports macros, for executing the code. A computer virus can cause extensive damage to the system software by corrupting or destroying data.

Signs of a virus attack

  • Unexpected pop-up windows

Unexpected on screen ads are a typical sign of virus infection. Not only are they annoying, other malwares may lurk inside your system to cause further damage.

Never click on suspicious pop-up ads even if it says “A virus was detected”.

  • Slow start up and slow performance

If your PC is taking longer than normal to start or programs are taking time to open, then your PC may have a virus.

If your system performance is slow, check first that it isn’t due to a lack of RAM memory or hard disc space. If it’s not, then it’s a virus attack.

  • Suspicious hard drive activity

An excessively active hard disc, where it makes continual noise or constant spins- even though you are not using your computer nor have any programs running. This can be a sign your PC is infected with a virus.

  • Lack of storage space

If you suddenly find yourself running out of storage space on your drive, a virus may be doing its work to make your computer unusable.

  • Missing files

In some cases, the virus may delete files and programs from the affected device. Once the virus has succeeded in infecting a system, there are chances that some of your important documents may be locked and unable to access.

  • Crashes and error messages

If programs starts opening and closing automatically, your system freezes or shuts down for no reason, or you see odd error message, then you may have a virus infection.

  • High network activity

If your internet connection is very active even when you are not using it, a virus may be sending information back and forth across internet.

  • Email is hijacked

If you receive emails and instant messages from your social network asking them to click on an attachment or link, it’s likely that a virus is attempting to spread to other computers via your accounts

  • Browser woes

to unusual websites, it may be a virus infection.

  • Security attacks

Some viruses are programmed to destroy the security of your system. So if you can’t open or install an anti-virus program or your firewall, your system may be infected.

How does a virus attack?

Once a virus has entered into your device, its stays dormant in any one of the files or document until circumstances come when the user execute its code.

For a virus to infect your system, you must run the malicious program that causes the virus to execute the code and thereby compromising the device.

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

Types of computer viruses

  • Boot sector virus
  • Web scripting virus
  • Browser hijacker
  • Resident virus
  • Direct action virus
  • Polymorphic virus
  • File infector virus
  • Multi partite virus
  • Macro virus

How to prevent yourself from virus attacks

  • Don’t open emails from strangers. Even if it is from an known source, validate the content before you open any attachment or click any link.
  • Use your spam blocking or filtering tools to block unsolicited emails, instant messages and pop-up
  • Use passwords that are difficult to guess. Do not share your password in any of the unauthentic websites.
  • Be careful while downloading files from internet. Only download from trusted sources.
  • Back up files on your personal computer regularly using an external hard drive.
  • Don’t keep private and sensitive information in unprotected device.
  • Don’t share the access of your personal computer to strangers.
  • Use good anti-virus software.

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