A computer virus is a piece of code or a program designed to damage your computer by destroying data, corrupting system files, wasting resources or otherwise being a nuisance. Sometimes data recovery is still possible, however often it is already to late and your data files have already been overwritten or encrypted. Viruses are self-replicating thus being unique from other forms of malware.
How Computer Viruses Spread
Below are common ways how your computer can get infected with a virus.
1. Software Download Viruses
Cybercriminals and scammers use aggressive ads and pop-ups scaring the users that a virus has been detected in their PC and directs them to download their antivirus to remove the threat. The fake antivirus proceeds to infect the PC with malware instead of ridding the computer virus. This results in devastating consequences in victims hard drive, files and personal information.
2. Instant Messaging Viruses
Instant messaging forms such as Facebook, Skype, Windows Live Messenger and Facebook Messenger are unknowingly used to spread viruses to your contacts. This is done by opening infected links sent through chat messages.
Your computer can get infected through email by:
• Opening an Attachment- Frequently named as something harmless such an executable program file like .exe, .zip, .vbs, etc. or macro file type like .dot, .doc, .xls, etc.
• Opening an Infected Email- These days, some viruses are being spread in the HTML email body itself. Majority of email service providers disable HTML by default until the receiver confirms email is from a trusted sender.
Types of Computer Virus
Below is a list of current computer viruses.
• Boot Sector Virus
• Direct Action Virus
• Resident Virus
• Multipartite Virus
• Polymorphic Virus
• Macro Virus
How to Get Protected From Viruses
1. Use antivirus protection
An antivirus is your first line of defence against a bunch of malware and viruses that you seriously don’t want to have contact with. You must have some antivirus software installed on your computer and smartphone.
2. Be Careful
Apart from letting your antivirus remove and detect viruses, you should observe proper cyber hygiene and follow some basic internet safety tips which include:
• Do not just click any social media link especially if the message contains no text.
• Do not open any email attachment unless you are sure what it is.
• Don’t fall for hysteric messages on the internet such as Your PC is infected