What Is a Virus & How to Prevent Computer Viruses?

What Is a Virus?

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What Is a Virus

A computer virus is a malicious program or piece of 
code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge. A virus can be spread by opening an email attachment, clicking on an executable file, visiting an infected website or viewing an infected website advertisement etc.

It can also be spread through infected removable storage devices, such as USB drives.
When the virus is executed, it spreads by copying itself into or over data files, programs, or the boot sector of a computer's hard drive, or potentially anything else writable. 
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Some viruses begin replicating as soon as they infect the host, while other viruses will lie dormant until a specific trigger causes malicious code to be executed by the device or system.

Types of Viruses Affecting Your Computer

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Types of Computer Viruses

Resident Virus - Resident viruses live in your RAM memory. It can interfere with normal system operation which can lead to the corruption of files and programs. One of its more troublesome features is its ability to run away.

Resident viruses are problematic because they can evade antivirus and antimalware software by hiding in the system's RAM.

Multipartite Virus - They can infect both the executable files and the boots sector. This makes it difficult to detect and contain.

Browser Hijacker - This type of virus infects your web browser in which it will bring you to different websites. This hijacker is nothing more than a tactic to increase income from web ads.

Overwrite Virus -  An overwriting virus begins overwriting files with its own code. These viruses can target specific files or applications or systematically overwrite all files on an infected device. Thus, it is important to back up your data.

Web Scripting Virus - This virus lives in certain links, ads, image placement, videos, and layout of a website. 
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Boot Sector Virus - It infects the boot sector of the system, executing every time system is booted and before the operating system is loaded. It infects other bootable media like floppy disks.

Macro Virus - These viruses specifically target macro language commands in applications like Microsoft WordMacro viruses can add their malicious code to the legitimate macro sequences in a Word file. Unlike most viruses which are written in a low-level language(like C or assembly language), these are written in a high-level language like Visual Basic.

Polymorphic Virus - A polymorphic virus is a type of malware that can mutate its underlying code without changing its basic functions or features. So to avoid detection by antivirus a polymorphic virus changes each time it is installed.
Polymorphic viruses include Satan Bug, Elkern, Tuareg, and Marburg.

File Infector Virus - Some file infector viruses attach themselves to program files, usually selected .com or .exe files. The file infector virus is activated as well which can slow down the program and produce other damaging effects.

Encrypted Virus - This type of virus exists in encrypted form. It carries a decryption algorithm along with it. So the virus first decrypts and then executes. Although they don’t delete files or folders, they can badly affect PC performance.

Network Virus - This type of virus spreads out through the Local Network Area (LAN) and through the internet. 

Stealth Virus - It is a very tricky virus as it changes the code that can be used to detect it. Some antivirus software cannot detect them.

Tunneling Virus - Interception programs, which remain in the background of an operating system and catch viruses, become disabled during a tunneling virus.

Rootkit virus - A rootkit virus is a type of malware that installs an unauthorized rootkit on an infected system. Rootkit viruses were designed to bypass antivirus software, which typically scanned only applications and files.
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Armored Virus -  An armored virus is coded to make it difficult for antivirus to unravel and understand.

How to prevent computer viruses

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How To Prevent Computer Viruses

  • Install current antivirus and antispyware software and keep it up to date.
  • Run daily scans of antivirus software.
  • Disable autorun to prevent viruses from propagating to any media connected to the system.
  • Regularly patch the operating system and applications installed on the computer.
  • Don’t click on web links sent via email.
  • Don’t download files from the Internet or email.
  • Install a hardware-based firewall.

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