What Are Computer Viruses and How To Prevent Them?

Updated On -

All information on this site is harmless and purely for educational purposes, which is why we post only authentic, unbiased information! The affiliate links are really there for discounts for our readers and for us to earn small commissions that help us stay afloat! Thanks! read more

In today’s era, device protection has become a need that’s often overlooked. Computers are one of those devices whose security doesn’t matter for their users. But they don’t realize what risks they are welcomed by neglecting the device security. Computers have significant importance in our lives.

From studying to streaming on Netflix and carrying out work tasks, our lives depend on computer systems. But this is also a reality that computers are prone to viruses that can affect your valuable data like your business data, personal, and financial data.

If you still don’t know about computer viruses, then don’t worry. This article is all about computer viruses, their types, and how to protect yourself from them. So, let’s jump into this article.

What Are Computer Viruses?

A computer virus is a malicious code embedded in a program or a file with the ability to replicate and infect other files and programs in a system. It means that the computer virus can spread from one host to another, and there are several ways.

The viruses spread via both email and text message attachments. Suppose you have got an email from some unknown source. The sender urges you to download it as it’s related to your tax details. Upon downloading such files, your system becomes infected with a virus and harms other files too. Social media scam links, software installation, and even downloading files from the website causes viruses to spread on your computer. Viruses can also disguise themselves in any funny content or audio and video files.

The primary purpose of a computer virus is to steal your password and all other vital data. It also includes your social media accounts, bank account details, and other health and financial data.

5 Common Types of Computer Viruses

Viruses are billions and trillions in number, and these figures increase with each passing data. As viruses’ evolution rate is fast and quick, they are among the most dangerous online enemies. The following mentioned below are the five most vulnerable computer viruses.

Boot Sector Virus

A boot sector virus was common when computers used to get booted from a floppy disk. They used to infect the systems’ hard drive and spread the virus from there. Nowadays, the spread of such viruses is possible through an external hard drive or USB. They are not very useful, and even if they infect the system, there’s always a way to go for an antivirus scan and protect the device.

Browser Hijacker

This computer virus takes control of some specific features in your web browser. They impersonate your homepage into some fake search engine and rewrite the settings in a way that can’t get changed. When you open your webpage and enter the desired URL, the virus takes you to a bogus website that asks you for action. It can be clicking on any link or signing up to the site to proceed further.

If you continue doing what the virus asks you to do so, you end up losing all your valuable data. The virus enters into your system through the website you accessed. Most of the time, the browser hijackers want to make money by showing clickable advertisements. Remember, online ads are vulnerable and shouldn’t be clicked.

File Infectors

The file infectors are the ones that attach themselves to the executable files that have .exe. And .com extensions. Opening such files means that you are downloading a virus in your system. Once downloaded, the virus becomes active and takes control of other programs too. It starts spreading to other extension files present on the hard drive.

The fundamental purpose of file infectors is to:

  • Create P2P botnets
  • Damage the security software
  • Harm all the crucial data and files on the network

Sometimes, the file infectors rewrite the host files or even damage the entire host program to control the computer.

Macro Virus

These viruses attach themselves to files that support the sequences of command and can get executed by a keystroke. It is the most common type of computer virus found in email attachments, Excel spreadsheets, and MS Word documents. 

Such viruses become active when you open them. If you’ve got an email, the virus sends the replicate copy to all the people in your contact list. In this way, it spreads from one user to the other. Upon downloading these infected files, the macro virus infects other documents and excel files on your system.

Web Scripting Virus

This virus targets all the popular websites by overwriting their codes to insert the links and videos that install the infected software on the system. A web scripting virus affects the user without the users’ consent. They are not aware of the harmful hosting content. The malicious agents first infect the page by writing any malicious code in the comment, and the rest is history.

They can also steal your cookies and can use the information in the wrong way. Like they can post a comment on an infected website.

Signs Your System Got Infected With A Computer Virus

Several signs show that your system got some computer virus. Let’s have a look at the most prevalent signs.

  • Changes in homepage: Your homepage might change with some other website, and you’re unable to reset it.
  • Emails sent from your account: By infecting your device with a computer virus, the hacker takes control of it. They can send emails on your behalf to anyone on your contact list.
  • Frequent crashes: As a virus damages the hard drive, it can make the device crash or freeze. Despite adopting several measures, you’re unable to get your device back to normal.
  • Password change: Someone else changes your system password, and you can’t log in to it.
  • Pop-Up Windows: Your screen becomes bombarded with unnecessary ads that encourage you to visit websites. 
  • Programs are running in the background: When you turn on your computer, some programs and applications are already running.
  • Slow speed: You observe a gradual slow speed of the processing system.

How to Protect Your System for a Computer Virus?

Here are some of the preventive measures you can adopt to prevent the damage of a computer virus.

Avoid Downloading Suspicious Links

Links are dangerous and risky if they come from an unknown sender. Make sure that you don’t click or download any attachment or link which seems doubtful. Usually, it is a phishing trick and can put you at significant risk. So, be careful and think before you click.

Install An Antivirus Software

The best way is to install antivirus software and end all kinds of viruses and malware affecting your system. Several reliable antivirus programs are available in the market. Choose the most reliable one to boost your systems’ security. They help in protecting the system from computer viruses. Whenever there’s a virus on your system, the antivirus software sends you an alert, and upon running the scan, they destroy it and safeguard your data and device. 

It is also responsible for looking after the applications, files, software, and web pages that come to your device. It monitors and searches for any threats or vulnerabilities in the programs and flags suspicious behavior.

Update Your Software

Your system quite often receives software updates, and most of the time, you ignore them because you think it might take too long. But they don’t. These updates comprise security updates that are vital to fixing the damage caused by a computer virus.

Make sure that you don’t neglect these security updates. You can also set timings when you want the updates. You also have an automatic updates option. The system won’t ask for your permission and update the software soon as the new version releases. Please update your software as it fixes all the flaws and vulnerabilities that your computer system might be suffering from.

Use a VPN

You can also use a VPN to prevent the effect of a computer virus. As a VPN encrypts your data traffic, so all your data will remain secure. The virus can’t reach your important files and data as the VPN acts as a protective shield and guarantees robust protection. A VPN protects against unwanted ads, malware, and trackers, so you can use it and boost your security level.

Install An Ad-Blocker

Seeing many pop-ups, advertisements often results in a computer virus entering your system. You can always use an ad-blocker that blocks unnecessary and irrelevant online ads.

The market is full of ad-blockers, both free and paid ones. Choose the best ad-blockers and get rid of persistent ads all over the web. This, in turn, protects you from the harm of a computer virus.

Parting Words

Unfortunately, computer viruses are a dark reality that we can’t deny. No matter how much technology advances, they can’t stop the creation of computer viruses. They are billions and trillions in number and are increasing with each passing day. Each of them is strong enough to harm your system differently.

By adopting measures like using a reliable VPN or antivirus software, you can prevent its effects. Make sure you don’t ignore the signs that your system gives when infected with a virus. Whether you’re safe from the effect of a computer virus or not, do follow the preventive measures to prevent any uncertain situation.