If you have ever experienced a computer virus, you might be wondering exactly what it is and the way it works. We are going to give you a general definition, and an overview of how a virus can completely ruin your day.
A computer virus is a small software application designed to spread from computer to computer, interfering with your system’s operation. It may do this in a lot of ways, including: corrupting or deleting data, together with your email to spread to other computers, erasing everything on your hard disk, and more.
Here’s how most viruses work
An infected program is conducted — this is a program file or a boot sector program. By way of instance, if a virus is embedded within a Word document, it can be triggered after that file is opened. But when the “NORMAL.DOT” template (the most frequent target for viruses such as those) is infected, the virus may be triggered once Word is started up — no matter whether you’re opening a particular document.
The infected program is altered — the virus code runs rather than the correct program code. Normally, the virus will modify the first few instructions to cause the code to “leap” to where it is stored, where it will begin to execute.
The virus code becomes active and takes charge of your PC — there are two ways a virus will act when it is run. “Direct-action” viruses will immediately implement, seeking other applications to execute and/or demonstrating whatever malicious behavior their writer coded into them; many file-infector viruses are this kind. By comparison, “memory-resident” viruses do not do anything immediately. Instead, they load themselves into your memory and await a triggering event which will make them “act.” Many file infectors — and all boot infectors — do so; boot infectors generally have to become memory-resident, because when they are implemented the system is starting up and there is not much they could do immediately.
What the virus does depends on which it is written to do. However, their key goals include replication and spreading, so they will usually hunt for new targets to infect. A boot sector virus, as an example, will attempt to install itself on hard drives, memory sticks (such as USB sticks), CDs, or similar things it finds in the system. By comparison, file infectors will often remain on your computer, in its memory, and search for programs that may be targeted for the disease.
Malevolent viruses that damage files or mess things up in different ways will typically act on triggers. These can be things like triggering only on certain days of the year (such as the “Friday the 13th” virus) or have a random trigger, such as deleting a document when it has been run 10 times. Some viruses, but do nothing other than attempt to access to as many documents and systems as you can.
Nowadays, there are lots of “worm” viruses that travel the internet, actively seeking vulnerable computers; your computer has the capacity to be infected by simply being online. Luckily, though new viruses are being devised all the time, there are a few simple steps you can take to safeguard your computer. The most important, of course, is installing and upgrading your virus protection program.
Though antivirus software is absolutely critical, it is often not enough to offer maximum protection when it is used alone. You should also be upgrading your operating system. On Windows, you’d use Windows Update — open your Control Panel, click “System and Security,” and you will find Windows Update there. But if you are using Windows 10, your system will automatically download and install essential upgrades for you, making the procedure simpler. Mac users can install upgrades by clicking on the “Apple” menu and choosing “Software Update.”
Other Suggestions on Virus Prevention
- Do not open emails with attachments if you feel the message is suspicious — even if they are from a friend or acquaintance.
- Do not download files from strangers.
- Be extra careful when downloading documents from the Internet.
- Avoid subscribing to e-mails from classes or informational sites, since these e-mails are considered junk.
- Use one of the antiviruses recorded on Antivirus.best to guard against viruses, spyware, and other potentially harmful software.