Computer Viruses

Computer Health

No one signs up for a computer virus but with so many of us surfing the web 2.0 world most of us have had one at one time or another. The computer virus is a type of program, or just a piece of a computer code which is loaded onto a user’s computer without their knowledge and continues to run without their knowledge or wishes. All computer viruses are made by a human. There are simple viruses which can replicate themselves over and over. That may not sound too bad, but it will eventually use up any available memory and finally bring the system to a complete halt. Some viruses will transmit themselves across various networks by getting through security systems unnoticed. The first virus affected the ARPANET in 1987. This was a huge network that was used extensively by the Defense Department as well as many different universities. Since that time there are many different antivirus programs that have been created. They will check the entire computer system on a regular basis and when they find a virus they will remove it, hopefully before it does any damage at all.

How Does My Computer Get a Virus?

Computer viruses are spread several different ways. They are often spread by being attached to an email or an instant message. When the attachment is opened, it releases the virus onto the computer to cause various types of damage to the system. A virus may corrupt or even delete important data on the computer. Some are designed to use your own email program to spread itself to many other computers. And some are designed to erase anything and everything from the hard disk. Because of the way viruses are spread, it is important to not open any email or attachments unless you know the person it is from, or you were expecting it in the first place. Viruses can also look like attachments of silly images, audio or video files or greeting cards. They can also be spread through different types of downloads from the internet. It is best to not download anything from an online source that you do not know can be trusted or not. Many times viruses are well hidden in other programs or files or in software that is illicit. When downloaded they invade your computer usually with very troubling results.

Most Common Types of Computer Viruses

There are many different computer viruses with four being the most common: viruses, email-viruses, Trojan horse and worms. Basically, a virus is a very little piece of software that rides around on real programs. It may be attached to a spreadsheet program and then each time the spreadsheet program is opened and run, the virus runs as well. This is where it will reproduce by attaching to various programs or it may just attack your computer and wreak havoc. Email viruses are typically attachments on email messages. Most of the time it will be activated when the message is opened. Sometimes the user has to click the link that is contained in the email. But many of these illicit emails will launch the virus as soon as the message is opened.

A Trojan horse is a computer program. Usually, it will claim that does a certain thing, like maybe it looks like a game. But as soon as it is run, it will start doing damage. Many times a Trojan horse will erase the computer’s hard disk. A Trojan horse will not replicate itself like other viruses. Worms are another type of software that will use a computer network or a hole in the security system to replicate itself. One copy of the worm looks across a network for another computer which has some sort of hole in its security. It will then copy itself to the new computer and then starts the process of replicating again. A worm can wipe out an entire system.