Are you wondering what is a computer virus? You may have heard of it but what really is a computer virus? Here are some information that my help to answer your curiosity.
A computer virus is a program which reproduces itself. It may attach to other programs, it may create copies of itself (as in companion viruses). It may damage or corrupt data, change data, or degrade the performance of your system by utilizing resources such as memory or disk space.
A computer virus may be categorized with one or more of the following four designations:
1. Boot sector computer virus
2. Master Boot Record (MBR) computer virus
3. File infector computer virus
4. Macro computer virus
A computer virus which displays characteristics of more than one of these categories is known as a multi-partite computer virus.
Boot sector viruses
Boot sector viruses infect the boot record on hard disks, floppy disks, and theoretically also on CD’s and DVD’s.
A boot sector virus does not need to be able to successfully boot the victims computer to infect it. Because of this, even non-bootable media can spread a boot sector virus.
Once the infected computer does successfully boot, the boot sector virus stays in memory and infects floppies and other media when they are written to by the infected computer.
Boot sector viruses have become less common as floppy disks have become rarer.
Master Boot Record (MBR) viruses
Master Boot Record (MBR) viruses are very similar to boot sector viruses, except that they infect the MBR (Master Boot Record) instead of the boot sector.
File infector viruses
File infector viruses infect files which contain executables code, such as .EXE and .COM files.
Some file infectors are memory resident. This means that the virus will stay in memory and continue to infect other programs. Other file infector viruses only infect other files when they are executed.
Macro viruses infect certain types of data files. Most macro viruses infect Microsoft Office files, such as Word Documents, Excel Spreadsheets, PowerPoint Presentations, and Access Databases.
Macro viruses typically use the Visual Basic macro language which is built into Microsoft Office applications.
Some macro viruses also share the characteristics of a computer worm, in the way in which they spread themselves across networks.
Multi-partite viruses share the characteristics of more than one virus type. For example, a multi-partite computer virus might infect both the boot record and program files.
How Does a computer virus could get onto your system?
The people that develop these viruses are constantly finding new ways to infiltrate your computer. When one door shuts, another one opens for them. However the most common ways to get a virus on your computer is through the internet.
You might download a file that contains a virus, or may be you might open an email that has one attached to it. Sometimes even visiting a bad website can infect your computer. The worst one of all, however, is when people download illegal cracked software. This software has usually been taken apart and repackaged with a few extras attached. Maybe you download music or videos from the internet. How do you know you are actually downloading the file you intended to. The file may be named to deceive you, and once you open it you will release the virus.
How do you know if you have a virus or not?
If your computer has been infected with a virus you will quickly see odd signs that it exists. Weird things start happening that you cannot explain. Files might move around, odd error messages may appear, programs might start to fail.
For example if your virus scanner program stops working then it could have been disabled by a virus.With all this action taking place in the background your computer will also start to run slow and seem like it is busy all the time. When browsing the internet you might find that you will not able to visits the pages that you choose. You will be redirected to different websites. Your computer might also be sending emails to everyone in your contact list without you knowing.
What can a virus do to my computer hardware components?
People think that a virus simply attacks the file systems of your computer, however this is not true. Some viruses are designed to damage computer hardware components until they are ruined completely. Many people will argue that a virus only infects software, however all hardware is controlled by various types of software. Infact the entire computer is controlled by BIOS which is software. BIOS controls the temperature of the motherboard. What if a viruses only purpose was to change the temperature control on your motherboard? The motherboard would overheat and fry itself. In the old days viruses used to be developed to set the read speed of a floppy disk drive to speeds beyond its capability. The Floppy disk drive would overheat and fry from being over worked. Nowadays WindowsVista has a service called Superfetch that searches your hard drive, finds out what you use the most, and makes it available for you. If you made a virus to control Superfetch, we could have a serious problem. Most Vista users already have Superfetch disabled on their computer. A virus could enable it, tell it all files are important, keep it searching non stop, and fry your hard drive that way.
What are the Solution to stop it?
The easiest way to protect your computer is to use a virus guard such as Norton Antivirus, Karpersky, and there are few more to choose from. More on Antivirus softwares to download available in our download section.
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Source: Based of Various Tech Journals.