A computer virus is a kind of malicious content that sponges off onto legitimate application code to reproduce and spread itself. Similar to other types of malware, a computer virus is set up and used by attackers to take control and damage the computer. The name virus originates from the process by which it attacks and infects its target. A biological virus such as flu or HIV that cannot replicate on its own and get control over or hijack the cell to get the work done for it, causing destruction on the infected organism.
Similarly, a computer virus is not a separate program. It is a code scrap or a bit that injects itself into some other app. When the application launch and runs, it executes and performs the virus code, which results in multiple damages ranging from irritating to the disaster.
People usually use the virus and malware interchangeably in everyday conservation. Both of them are not same; a virus is a particular type of malware that is what we defined above. Other two main types of malware are Trojans and worms. The unique characteristic of a virus is that it requires to infect other programs to operate.
How do Computer Viruses Spread?
There are three main ways that viruses use to spread. The ways are removable media, email attachments, and from internet downloads.
Computer Viruses Spread Through Email
Many people are curious about getting infected by viruses from opening an email. It is not easy to catch the virus just by opening an email. You have to download an attachment and execute it that has been infected with virus codes. That is why many security pros are demanding that you need to be careful about downloading and running email attachments and why webmail services and most email clients involve virus scanning features by default.
Email is not the source and virus breeding ground. The fact is, it is impossible to transmit a virus through simple text email. The viruses can only be spread through email attachments, both attached applications, and rich-text e-mail. Antivirus software can be used to scan attachments sent from people you know, and you should not execute or download the attachments from people you don’t know.
In case you are Microsoft Outlook user, you can choose security choices that protect your system from email-borne viruses from exploiting the close relationship between the Windows operating system and Outlook. The cautions will help reduce the risk of virus attack to your computer and also keep you away from the distribution of viruses to other’s computers.
Computer Viruses Spread Through the Internet
Nowadays viruses spread through the internet at a much faster rate. In many instances, apps that are infected by virus code are distributed from one computer to other just like any simple app. Most of the viruses involve a logic bomb that is a specific code which makes sure that the virus’s payload only opens at a particular time or under specific situation. Admins and users may not know that their apps are infected and will install or transfer them with freedom.
Features of Computer Viruses
A computer virus needs to be activated to spread through the system, which means that the file containing the virus code must be executed or opened to get the virus come to life. When the virus gets activated, it will look for a particular program or file to infect, and it will depend on what they have been programmed to do. One similar feature of all the viruses is that they duplicate on their own within the program faile they find and this is the way computer viruses spread.
Effects of Computer Viruses
The computer virus affects the computer in many ways, and it entirely depends on how they are programmed to spread virus. The virus programming is of two kinds. One is the non-resident, and the other is resident. Non-resident viruses are created by two main processes; one duplicates the virus among the files that have been found, and the other finds files on your computer to infect them.
Resident viruses are formed by a single process. Its only function is to replicate itself all around the system. Resident viruses are set up to load in the system’s memory to get the job done. When doing this, the virus stay activated all the time you switch on your computer. This process keeps the virus active and spread to other-directed applications on your computer system for as long as the laptop is on.