Viruses, Trojans, worms and other malware – these are dangerous creatures inhabiting digital world. In this article we’ll figure out what a virus is, how it lives and how it harms our computers.
Computer viruses: what is it?
A virus is an independent program that is installed against the will of a user on his computer. The virus installs itself in the software or in the operating system, damages the software, and then continues to spread throughout the system. The human biological virus causing the disease does the same.
The word “virus” is often used by both ordinary users and professionals as a notion for any malware. However, the virus in the classical sense is precisely a pest that breaks a PC and disrupts its normal operation .
What is computer virus: types of viruses and dangerous programs
In addition to viruses, there are other malicious programs.
Trojans – programs that allow attackers to remotely use your computer for their own purposes without your knowledge.
There are worms – viruses whose purpose is to install themselves on as many computers as possible.
Spyware, adware, and ransomware are also malware.
Viruses exist since the earliest stages of computer history. When the Internet did not yet exist, viruses travelled by being transferred with infected files on a floppy disk from a computer to another computer. Now that data is transmitted mainly via the Internet, it is much easier to get a virus.
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A computer virus can be “picked up” in different ways. For example, web pages and mail attachments can be used to directly launch the virus into the system. Often a virus can be embedded in a program downloaded from the Internet that “releases” the virus into the wild after you install it.
When the virus works, it infects a lot of files, copies its malicious code in them in order to exist on the computer for as long as possible. Both simple Word documents and scripts, program libraries, and all other files on your computer may be at risk.
What damage does a computer virus cause?
Viruses can do all kinds of harm. In most cases, they delete files or permanently damage them. If this happens with an important system file, you will not be able to start the operating system after infection.
Damage to physical equipment is also possible, but it happens quite rarely. For example, among other things, a virus can damage a video card, causing it to overheat and lead to its failure.
Simple destruction of files does not bring financial benefits for criminals, so viruses have become uninteresting to them. Moreover, today there are significantly more profitable malicious programs – the ransomware.
How to identify viruses?
A real virus written by a professional does not allow the user to know that the computer is infected. Or the user can only understand this when it is too late.
However, there are some tips:
If your computer suddenly becomes noticeably slower, this may be a sign of a virus.
An antivirus scanner will help you find and remove the virus. There are many free programs to scan your computer for viruses.
Antivirus software or an antivirus scanner at the network connection level will help you prevent the virus from entering your PC.