Computer Viruses: The What, How And Why

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Computer Viruses: The What, How And Why

Computer viruses are a huge threat to the security and functionality of your computer. Viruses will infect your system and create havoc, slowing down your computer and even worse crashing it altogether. The good news is that if you know what to do when this happens, you can take steps to protect yourself from these nasty programs. This blog post will teach you how to keep safe with some quick tips on how to avoid malware like viruses or spyware.

What are Computer Viruses?

They can be defined as a program that can copy itself and infect other computers on your network. This infection will come in the form of corrupted or altered files, deleting vital system data, and more. The virus may even affect connected hardware such as modems and printer devices. 

Viruses cause problems for users because if just one person’s computer gets infected, all of their contacts could also become victims too from sending an email with an attachment containing the virus. 

There have been many cases where this has resulted in huge losses including classified information being stolen by hackers who were later identified using evidence found on the hard drive after it was affected by a malicious Trojan horse program. Today we take measures to protect ourselves from these types of cyber threats.

Common Types of Viruses

Viruses have been around for a long time and the threat is still very real today. The development of new programming techniques has made it possible to create even more types of viruses than ever before, so let’s take a closer look at some of them:

  1. Worms 

These programs will spread themselves through networks sharing files with other computers without user action or knowledge. They can be used as weapons by those who want to attack particular targets such as government agencies, financial institutions, and private companies which hold sensitive data that could benefit from being stolen.

  1. Spyware 

This type of malware waits until you’re online then tracks your web browsing habits collecting personal information like credit card details or passwords. It may also create additional software on your computer causing further problems.

  1. Ransomware 

This type of virus blocks your access to the computer until a ransom is paid, often in Bitcoin or another digital currency. The most famous case involved thousands of computers being held hostage by hackers who demanded $300 from victims for removing it with a decryption key.

Signs of a Computer Virus Infection

Unfortunately, many types of malware are difficult to recognize once the virus has entered the system so you may have no idea it’s there. However, if your computer is running slowly or crashes frequently this may be an indication that something else is going on behind the scenes. Other signs include:

  • Your computer displays pop-up advertisements (ads) for products and services you didn’t request at any time while using it. These could indicate a serious infection since their only purpose is to bring in money by tricking users into clicking them;
  • You notice files changing the structure or becoming corrupted which will stop other programs from opening properly;
  • Programs start acting strangely like they’re sending emails without permission – these can also contain viruses to spread between computers.
  • You notice unusual email messages from friends or colleagues that you’re not sure how to open – click on these links could infect your system with malware.

How to Avoid Getting a Computer Virus?

You can avoid getting a virus by following these simple rules:

  • Make sure you have antivirus software that is up-to-date and runs scans regularly to track down existing malware
  • Stay away from unknown sites offering free downloads, they could be infected with spyware or other viruses. If the site doesn’t look professional it’s best not to download anything.
  • When in doubt about opening an email attachment your friends sent try calling them first, this will confirm if it’s legit. Delete emails without attachments right away especially if they’re coming from someone you don’t know – more often than not unsolicited messages contain some type of malware designed to steal information like passwords and credit card numbers
  • Don’t connect your computer/network directly into another system unless you’re sure it’s clean and secure, this could easily spread the virus across systems 
  • Never leave your computer unattended especially for long periods because others may have access to it or download malware using a USB drive without you knowing.

Tips For Recovering From A Virus Attack:

If you think your computer is infected with malware,  Here are some tips to removing it:

Close All Open Applications And Restart The Machine

This makes sure that any active infections will be removed.

Disconnect From The Internet Immediately 

Before doing anything else since most viruses rely on spreading online; if they can’t do their job of infecting other systems they’ll die out without a source of new victims. 

If you find yourself unable to access the Internet because it’s disabled or disconnected, make sure everything related (printers, USB ports, etc.) has been shut down first. Then turn off your modem or unplug Ethernet cables at both ends so there’s no chance for connection. Reboot again once done just in case for good measure since you don’t know what else might be lurking in the background.

Use Alternate Browser To Download Antivirus Software 

This way if it is infected with a virus that blocks access to Windows or internet browsers it’s less likely to affect both – just make sure not to use the same password as before so all of your accounts remain secure; change them immediately after getting rid of any viruses. 

Having multiple browsers on your system is also useful because they can detect and stop malicious code from websites automatically which will prevent infections even when loading legitimate sites. 

Once done, updating/installing new security programs delete temporary files created during installation since these could contain remnants of previous threats. 

Do not forget about anti-spyware programs either since malware can use your browser as a host to spread itself further.

Get The Latest Patches And Updates For Your Operating System

This way hackers will not be able to exploit older vulnerabilities which could lead them into accessing personal information without permission – Microsoft provides these free of charge so make it part of regular maintenance. It is also advisable to keep backups in case anything unexpected happens during cleanup or if files are lost/corrupted beyond repair. 

If paying someone else isn’t an option ask friends/family members who might know how instead; there are tutorials online too. Just remember any file restoration must be done before removing viruses completely because they can hide anywhere on your system including temporary folders where backups will be stored.

Don’t Download Or Open Any Attachments From Unknown Senders

This is a common way that viruses are transmitted and the safest method of preventing them from gaining access to your system.

Since loading pages offline could allow threats to spread even further using temporary files created during web browsing sessions without permission – hackers often use this approach so always double-check if an antivirus program deletes all malicious items correctly. If everything goes well then it’s time to update security programs before deleting temp files left behind by antivirus software that was used in operations since they could contain remnants of malware.

Examples of Some Famous Computer Virus

  • Melissa was one of the first computer viruses to become particularly widespread in 2000 which used email attachments to spread itself – by opening these it could access personal information without permission.
  • Chernobyl was another virus that became famous quickly around its release date because for some reason anti-virus software wasn’t able to detect it until after several thousand infections had taken place. 

The name is derived from a radiation symbol (☢) with an added ‘B’ for no apparent reason (possibly because the original version detected at the time didn’t trigger antiviruses). It’s also interesting how this made history as being among other things; one of the earliest examples of polymorphic code.

  • ILOVEYOU also known as LoveLetter was a virus that spread quickly worldwide in 2000 which used email messages to gain access into windows operating systems – it did this by exploiting vulnerabilities found within the Outlook program users use to send/receive messages.

Common Myths About Computer Viruses

Myth 1

Viruses are just a part of the internet and technology in general. They aren’t that big of a deal.

Reality: Computer viruses can cause some serious damage to computers, networks, and data. Whether it’s your company or personal computer you should always be on guard for this kind of threat. 

You never know when an attack will happen so make sure you’re prepared with antivirus software like AVG to keep yourself safe from virus threats such as ransomware (which encrypts all files until a ransom is paid), worms (self-replicating malware), and Trojans (malware disguised as something useful). 

Oftentimes these kinds of programs also come bundled together into one package known as “malvertising” which means you didn’t even have to click on a link for it to infect your machine.

Myth 2 

The only people who get viruses are those whose computers aren’t up-to-date and they don’t know how to protect themselves from threats.

Reality: Viruses can come from anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re using Mac or Windows, or whether you’ve got the latest software updates going on with your computer – anyone is susceptible to these kinds of attacks which is why we need our antivirus programs at all times when connected online in this day and age. 

And not just any old virus protection but “Premium” versions so that we get access to the best possible security options available such as AVG. There are even free versions of antivirus programs but oftentimes they don’t come with the same quality protection as premium software which is why it’s important to make sure you’re paying for your virus protection.

Myth 3

Viruses only affect computers and not mobile devices like tablets or phones because these aren’t connected online all that much.

Reality: This myth couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only do viruses work on both PCs and Macs, but also smartphones including Android devices (and other operating systems) meaning you could get a phone call containing malware if you’re not careful about who’s calling you during suspicious hours at night for example – something to keep in mind so we can stay safe out there. 

Myth 4

Viruses aren’t a big deal because if I have antivirus software my computer is safe from them.

Reality: Antivirus programs are great for protecting us against viruses, but they’re not 100% effective in detecting everything that could harm your machine or personal information stored on it. 

This means you should always take the time to double-check things yourself too such as by scanning all downloaded files before opening them and checking links within emails (in case of an attack like phishing). 

You can never be too careful out there so make sure you know what’s going on with your computer at all times no matter how small something might seem – trust me when I say these kinds of attacks only get worse over time unless you put a stop to them!

Myth 5

Viruses are only made by hackers who want to steal the information on your PC or network.

Reality: While it’s true that some viruses can be used for stealing data, other kinds of malware aren’t designed specifically with this in mind – they originate from companies themselves through their internal networks and spread out into the world wide web over time so always try to keep your guard up online as much as possible no matter what you’re doing because chances are if one person gets infected then many others will follow soon after. 

Even hacking groups sometimes use viruses instead of just trying social engineering attacks on people since these have proven more effective especially against larger organizations where it’s harder to say who’s who and what’s real or not.


The intensity or the harm that a virus does to any device depends on its type. For example, the ILOVEYOU virus is said to be the most dangerous virus and did damage worth $10 million. While some viruses are not that harmful. Sure they can do some numbers on your device but not that much when compared to the viruses which I’ve mentioned above.

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