Computer Virus and its prevention

A computer virus, much like a flu virus, is designed to spread from host to host and has the ability to replicate itself. Similarly, in the same way that flu viruses cannot reproduce without a host cell, computer viruses cannot reproduce and spread without programming such as a file or document.

In more technical terms, a computer virus is a type of malicious code or program written to alter the way a computer operates and is designed to spread from one computer to another. A virus operates by inserting or attaching itself to a legitimate program or document that supports macros in order to execute its code. In the process, a virus has the potential to cause unexpected or damaging effects, such as harming the system software by corrupting or destroying data.

Types of Computer Virus

  • Trojan : Trojan can be viruses. A Trojan is a computer program pretending to be something it’s not for the purposes of sneaking onto your computer and delivering some sort of malware. To put it another way, if a virus disguises itself then it’s a Trojan. A Trojan could be a seemingly benign file downloaded off the web .
  • Worms : Worms are not viruses, though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Even worse, the terms are sometimes used together in a strange and contradictory word salad; i.e. a “worm virus malware.” It’s either a worm or a virus, but it can’t be both, because worms and viruses refer to two similar but different threats. As mentioned earlier, a virus needs a host system to replicate and some sort of action from a user to spread from one system to the next. A worm, conversely, doesn’t need a host system and is capable of spreading across a network and any systems connected to the network without user action. Once on a system, worms are known to drop malware (often ransomware) or open a backdoor.
  • Rootkits : Rootkits are not viruses. A rootkit is a software package designed to give attackers “root” access or admin access to a given system. Crucially, rootkits cannot self-replicate and don’t spread across systems.
  • Trojan : Trojan can be viruses. A Trojan is a computer program pretending to be something it’s not for the purposes of sneaking onto your computer and delivering some sort of malware. To put it another way, if a virus disguises itself then it’s a Trojan. A Trojan could be a seemingly benign file downloaded off the web .
  • Worms : Worms are not viruses, though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Even worse, the terms are sometimes used together in a strange and contradictory word salad; i.e. a “worm virus malware.” It’s either a worm or a virus, but it can’t be both, because worms and viruses refer to two similar but different threats. As mentioned earlier, a virus needs a host system to replicate and some sort of action from a user to spread from one system to the next. A worm, conversely, doesn’t need a host system and is capable of spreading across a network and any systems connected to the network without user action. Once on a system, worms are known to drop malware (often ransomware) or open a backdoor.
  • Rootkits : Rootkits are not viruses. A rootkit is a software package designed to give attackers “root” access or admin access to a given system. Crucially, rootkits cannot self-replicate and don’t spread across systems.
  • Ransomware : Ransomware can be a virus. Does the virus prevent victims from accessing their system or personal files and demands ransom payment in order to regain access à la ransomware? If so, then it’s a ransomware virus. In fact, the very first ransomware was a virus (more on that later). Nowadays, most ransomware comes as a result of computer worm, capable of spreading from one system to the next and across networks without user action .

How to help protect against computer viruses?

Here are some of the things you can do to help keep your computer safe.

  • Use a trusted antivirus product, such as Norton AntiVirus Basic, and keep it updated with the latest virus definitions. Norton Security Premium offers additional protection for even more devices, plus backup.
  • Avoid clicking on any pop-up advertisements.
  • Always scan your email attachments before opening them.
  • Always scan the files that you download using file sharing programs.

“Viruses were all about peace and love—until they started crashing people’s computers.”