What is a Computer virus answeredWhat is a computer virus?
A computer virus is a malicious piece of software designed to perform tasks without the computer operator being aware.
They come in many forms, but will all cause damage to the infected computer.
Computer viruses spread just as their name suggests. Just like one sick person interacting in a room of healthy people will spread the virus an infected computer interacting with healthy computers will put those healthy ones at risk. They can be transferred through files, pictures, music, or video.
Virtually anything you share between computers could contain a virus, even some web pages can have viruses attached in some way.
What is a computer virus - Types of computer viruses
Different types of computer viruses act in different ways depending on what the author intends to achieve. Most viruses fall under three main categories all of which we will go over briefly to gain a better understanding of how they work.
Types of computer viruses - Trojan horses
A Trojan Horse virus gets its name from Homers story of the Trojan war, when the Greek armies besieged the city of Troy by building a giant horse and hiding soldiers inside it.
The unsuspecting armies of Troy, thinking the Greeks had retreated leaving a giant horse as an offering to the gods, wheeled the gift inside the city walls. Once the city of Troy was asleep the Greek soldiers climbed out from inside the horse and opened the gates of the city allowing the Greek army to invade and attack.
A Trojan Virus behaves in the same way. It sneaks in on a piece of software or file and once inside takes over the computer.
Trojans can be particularly malicious as they are able to take over a computer and perform what ever tasks they have been written to do, sometimes even allowing a cyber criminal to remotely take over the infected computer.
Types of computer viruses - Worms
A worm virus works by finding parts of your computers operating system that are weak and then infiltrating them to infect your computer. Worms are generally designed to replicate and infect other computers on a network.
They come in the form of an email or piece of downloaded software and through these means will slowly creep through the network of computers. Worms, though relatively harmless should not be dismissed.
Some worm viruses have been created with the intent of turning all the computers they have infected into zombies, allowing the author of the virus to take over and perform what ever task they wish.
They could delete or encrypt files, making them useless, or send personal information and commit internet crimes remotely though your computer.
Try explaining that to the police!
Types of computer viruses - Email virus
The email virus is one of the most common viruses you will find. They come attached to emails and once opened will replicate themselves and send infected emails to everyone in your address book. Just the act of viewing the email is enough to infect your computer and everyone else's that you know.
I can personally say there is nothing worse than having to phone your friends to admit you have infected them with a virus!
The best computer virus protection
You are the best computer virus protection for your computer, as being aware that a virus can come in the form of any file or email you receive means you can religiously scan all incoming files with your up to date anti virus software and keep your computer safe.
Good anti virus software is designed to detect all known viruses and even the behavior of viruses that are previously unknown.
They regularly scan your computer looking for possible threats and update their virus definition files daily. They will scan your incoming and out going emails to keep both you and your friends safe.
Norton, AVG and Mcafee are three of the best when it comes to virus protection. All have comprehensive support and back up systems and are the leaders of their industry today.
The history of computer viruses
The very first computer virus was recorded at the end of the 1960s when computers were still the size of a Cadillac and being used exclusively by big business, government and educational institutions.
In 1986 the first recorded case of a virus with the purpose of infecting home computers was released by programmers in Pakistan. This was called "The Brain"
With the internet came a new breed of viruses, they were malicious and created by people who had world domination fantasies. In 1999 The now infamous "Melissa" virus was released, wreaking havoc on the growing internet and causing approximately $80 million worth of damages. Since then many viruses have come and gone but one thing will always remain the same, there will always be people writing new ones with the intent of harming your computer!
What is a Computer Virus? Malicious software that harms your computer.
I hope we have helped you understand exactly "what is a computer virus" and helped you recognize that staying protected with up to date anti virus software is important! Now when this guys asks you if you have virus protection you wont put on a surgical mask!
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