We all are more often or not infected by a computer virus at some point of time. Getting infected by computer viruses or malware is extremely annoying. A computer virus is a program or piece of code that is loaded onto a computer without the user’s knowledge and runs against his/her wishes. Viruses can also replicate themselves. If you wonder what is a computer virus and want to know how it functions and creates trouble, then let’s go deep into the details.
What Is A Computer Virus
Virtually all computer viruses are man-made. A simple virus that can replicate itself over and over again is quit easy to produce. Such an innocuous looking virus can be dangerous because it will quickly eat up all available memory, bringing the entire system to a halt. Those viruses are more dangerous and can transmit themselves across networks and bypass security systems. To combat the harmful effects of a virus, many antivirus software are available at present. Such programs periodically check computer systems for the best-known types of viruses and they have a thorough understanding of what is a computer virus.
Virus-makers and spammers send as much spam as possible in an efficient manner. They create viruses that infect vulnerable computers around the world and turn those into spam-generating “robots“. The infected computers then send massive amounts of spam to the computer owner.
Spammers send virus generated emails that appear to be sent from legal and harmless addresses. In the process, attackers collect address books and information from infected computers. The viruses also use such data (combined with lists of common usernames) to send spam to huge numbers of recipients. Many of those messages will be returned as undelivered, and arrive in innocent and unknowing email users’ Inboxes.
Computer viruses currently cause billions of dollars’ worth of economic damage every year by causing system failure, wasting computer resources, corrupting data, increasing maintenance costs and so on.To combat the issue, free, open-source antivirus tools have been developed, and an industry of antivirus software has emerged, selling or freely distributing virus protection to users of various operating systems. Even though no existing antivirus software is able to uncover all computer viruses (especially new ones). Computer security researchers are actively searching for new ways to empower antivirus solutions to more effectively detect emerging viruses, before those spread like wildfire.
Vulnerability of different operating systems to viruses
A computer virus typically targets systems running Microsoft Windows, thanks to Microsoft’s large market share of desktop users. The variety of software systems limits the damage potential of viruses and malware. Open-source operating systems such as Linux allow users to choose from a variety of desktop environments, packaging tools, etc. That is why malicious code targeting any of these systems will only affect a subset of all users. Many Windows run the same set of applications that enable viruses to rapidly spread among Microsoft Windows systems by targeting the same exploits on large numbers of hosts. Mac operating system has been quite resistant to virus affects as very few major viruses have attacked Macs in the recent years.
How Does a Computer Virus Affect Users:
Even if the user is careful, he/she can pick up a computer virus through normal Web activities like:
- By sharing music, files or photos with other users
- By visiting an infected Web site
- By opening spam email or an email attachment
- By downloading free games, toolbar, media players and other system utilities
- By installing mainstream software applications without fully reading license agreements
What is a Computer Virus – Effects of a Computer Virus:
Computer viruses or malware cause the following negative effects more or less:
- Slows computer performance
- Causes erratic computer behavior
- Causes unexplained data loss
- Generally responsible for frequent computer crashes
Ways To Stay Safe From Virus Attacks:
An unprotected PC for PC malware. Firewalls screen Internet movement all through your PC and protects desktops from online tricksters searching for simple targets. Items like Web root Internet Security Essentials and Web root Anti Virus with Spy Sweeper give complete insurance from the two most hazardous dangers on the Internet – spyware and PC infections. They foil dangers before they can enter your PC, stand, monitor and protect every conceivable passageway of your PC and fight off any PC infection that tries to enter, even the most damaging and devious strains.
To stay safe from virus attacks and protect your information safety, you should have the basic understanding of what is a computer virus. Then, you can follow the precautionary measures properly.
We can follow the following safety measures to keep ourselves safe from virus attacks:
- Using antivirus protection and a firewall
- Getting anti spyware software
- Keeping antivirus protection and anti spyware software up-to-date
- Updating operating system regularly
- Increasing browser security settings
- Avoiding questionable Web sites
- Only downloading software from sites you trust. Carefully evaluate free software and file-sharing applications before downloading them.