With (Thanks to Avast Academy)
Computer viruses can steal personal information, degrade computer performance, and wreak all kinds of havoc. Learn how viruses work and how to protect yourself against these and other dangerous online threats.
What is a computer virus?
A computer virus is a self-replicating, malicious program or piece of code that sneaks onto your device without your knowledge or permission. Once there, it might do any number of undesirable things that vary in degree of severity. Some a a mere nusiance; others can be devastating. All are bad. If they weren’t, they’d call them something else.
So, some viruses are merely annoying, but most viruses are destructive. They might be designed to infect and control your device. A virus can spread across computers and networks by making copies of itself, just like a biological virus does.
And what about viruses vs. malware? Many people use the term “virus” to refer to any kind of dangerous program. But a virus is just one type of malware, which includes any code created to be harmful.
How do computer viruses work?
Computer virus is an umbrella term. It includes many different types of delivery mechanisms. In defining exactly how computer viruses work, we can split them into two different categories. Those are, ones that begin to infect and replicate as soon as they land on your computer, and those that lay dormant, waiting for you to trigger (or execute) them.
Computer viruses can spread through several infection mechanisms over the internet. You might get viruses on your computer through emails (the favorite method currently), downloads, SMS (messaging) services like WhatsApp and Instagram, or just plain old software.
Be VERY mindful about opening suspicious or unfamiliar attachments and links in emails and messaging apps. For that matter, an email can even contain an infection right in the body of the message through HTML.
File sharing services where files are shared or downloaded are a huge vector for malwares.
Viruses can be hidden in online advertisements, such as banner ads. Malvertising is so insidious because perpetrators can hide their malicious code even in legitimate, trusted websites like The New York Times and the BBC, both of which have been hit.
What computer viruses do
After entering their execution phase, a computer virus begins its attack. You’ll start to experience negative impacts on your device at this point. Because viruses hijack your system’s code and resources in order to replicate, you may effects like slowed performance, missing/corrupted files, incessant pop-ups, constant spinning of your had drive, freezing/crashing, apps opening on their own, and files appearing randomly.
Computer viruses can also steal sensitive personal data. Things like usernames, passwords, and credit card details. Some viruses can spam all of your contacts and try to trick them into contracting the virus as well.
Types of viruses
The most common is the Direct Action virus. They enter your computer, cause chaos (usually by attaching themselves to a lot of COM or EXE files), and then delete themselves. Another is the Boot Sector virus. Boot sector viruses sneak into your boot sector (responsible for loading your computer’s operating system upon startup) to infect your memory right away.
Resident virus is a type of memory-infecting virus. This virus will set up shop in your RAM. This allows the virus to persist even if you remove the original infector. This kind of malware can travel to all your friends by spamming your full email contact list. It also deletes tons of files, destroys the memory in your computer’s motherboard, and even writes you rude messages.
Another stubborn type is the polymorphic virus. This one hides by changing shape. As it replicates, its’ clones are all slightly different, which also helps it avoid detection. An example is the VirLock virus, which changes shape while also incorporating a bit of ransomware — it locks up your files and demands you pay to release them.
How do I avoid these awful viruses?
As with any type of malware, prevention is the best medicine. You can avoid the latest computer virus threats by practicing sensible browsing habits. Most are commn sense by now. For example, be wary of special offers, links, or attachments that you weren’t expecting in emails and other messages. Plus, don’t try to pirate media like music or movies from file-sharing platforms.
Next, steer clear of ads and pop-ups! Malvertising can insert viruses or other malicious code into ads, so it’s best to avoid clicking on any type of ads online. If you’re interested in a product you see, go to the company’s website directly.
Updates are your friend. The only pop-ups you shouldn’t ignore are notifications about updates from your operating system or other programs. These updates often include security patches that plug vulnerabilities, so it’s important to apply them right away.
Add extra protection. No matter how careful you are online, viruses can sometimes slip through. Enhance your defenses with a robust antivirus. Examples of good and affordable antivirus for SMB are Avast Endpoint Protection for SMB, Avast Essential Business Security, ESET PROTECT Entry, Emsisoft, and more.
Corporate Armor has a large selection of computer virus kryptonite and we have years of experience at your disposal. We are happy to help you find the perfect antivirus for your home or organization, so please feel free to email us or call 877-449-0458. Thanks for reading!