Cyber Security 101: Understanding Computer Viruses

Computer viruses are a growing concern for every computer user, regardless of their level of expertise. This comprehensive guide provides an overview of the history of computer viruses, an explanation of how computer viruses work, and strategies for protecting your computer from malicious viruses. With this guide, you can stay informed about computer viruses and take the necessary steps to keep your device safe.

History

Since the dawn of computing, there have been computer viruses. In the 1980s, the first known computer virus, called “Elk Cloner,” spread through Apple II computers. A high school student developed Elk Cloner, which propagated via floppy discs. Every time the infected disc booted, a poem would be shown.

In the 1990s, the prevalence of computer viruses began to increase. The Michelangelo virus, which was first discovered in 1992, caused a great deal of alarm due to its potential to cause extensive damage. The virus programmed to activate on March 6th, the anniversary of Michelangelo’s birthday, and would overwrite the system’s hard drive.

The emergence of the internet in the late 1990s made it easier for computer viruses to spread quickly. Email-based viruses, such as the Anna Kournikova virus, which spread through email attachments, became popular. With the increased prevalence of the internet, malicious hackers have been able to create more sophisticated forms of computer viruses, such as ransomware, worms, and Trojan horses.

What is the functioning of a Computer Virus?

A computer virus is a harmful program created with the intention of erasing, corrupting, deleting, or stealing system resources and data.It can spread quickly, infecting hundreds or even thousands of computers in a short period of time. To safeguard yourself and your data from harmful attacks, it is critical to understand how computer viruses operate.

Computer viruses are typically spread through file sharing, downloads, email, and other online activities. They can also spread through physical media, such as USB drives or CDs. Once a virus installed on a computer, it can begin to replicate itself and replicate on other computers on the same network.

Computer viruses are typically programmed to perform certain malicious activities such as deleting or corrupting files, stealing data, or hijacking system resources. Some viruses may also attempt to install other malicious programs, such as spyware or ransomware.

Viruses are typically written in a programming language such as C++ or Java. The code of a virus is often compressed and encrypted to make it difficult to detect and analyze. Once a virus is installed on a computer, it can begin to execute its malicious code.

Types of Computer Viruses

  1. Boot Sector Viruses: Boot sector viruses are malicious programs that infect the boot sector of your computer. The boot sector is the area of your computer’s hard drive where the operating system stored. Once a boot sector virus is present on your computer, it can damage the operating system and make it difficult or impossible to boot your computer.

  2. File Viruses: File viruses are malicious programs that infect executable files, such as programs and applications. They can damage or delete these files, making them unusable. They can also spread to other computers, infecting their files as well.

  3. Macro Viruses: Macro viruses are malicious programs that infect documents, such as Word or Excel documents. They can damage or delete these documents, as well as spread them to other computers.

  4. Polymorphic Viruses: Polymorphic viruses are malicious programs that are able to change their code as they spread. This makes them difficult to detect and remove, as traditional antivirus programs may not recognize them.

  5. Stealth Viruses: Stealth viruses are malicious programs that designed to hide from traditional antivirus programs.

  6. Worms: Worms are malicious programs with an aim to spread quickly across networks.

  7. Trojan Horses: Trojan horses are malicious programs that masquerade as legitimate programs.

Ultimate Computer Virus Protection Strategies

It’s critical to comprehend the many defense tactics offered if you want to safeguard yourself from the above-mentioned risks.

1.  Strong antivirus software is the best defense against computer viruses. Malicious programmes are found and eliminated from your computer by antivirus software. To prevent the creation of new viruses every day, it is imperative to maintain your antivirus software updated. Additionally, it is very important to keep in mind that antivirus software is not a full solution; it only handles the detection and elimination of known viruses, not security precautions.

2.  Another helpful protection strategy is to be aware of the types of websites and downloads that are likely to contain viruses. Avoid downloading files from unknown sources, and pay attention to the website you are visiting. Many viruses are spread through malicious websites or downloads, so it is wise to be cautious when visiting unfamiliar sites.

3.  It is also important to be aware of the types of emails that are likely to contain viruses. Unsolicited emails from unknown sources are a major source of viruses, so it is wise to always be cautious when opening emails. It is also wise to be aware of suspicious emails from known sources, as they may get infected with a virus.

4.  Finally, it is imperative to back up your data regularly. This way, if a virus infects your system, you can restore your data. While this is not a preventative measure, it is critical to have a plan in place in case the unforeseen happens.

Conclusion

Computer viruses are a growing concern for all computer users and understanding the basics of how they work and how to protect your computer from them is essential. This guide provides an overview of the history of computer viruses, how they work, and strategies for protecting your computer from malicious viruses. With this information, you can stay informed and take the necessary steps to keep your device safe.

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