People tend to disregard their devices’ security and often, it’s already too late before they realize how important it is. Knowing the various types of computer viruses and how they work is vital to containing and eliminating them.
What is a Computer Virus?
A computer virus is a piece of code embedded in a legitimate program and is created with the ability to self-replicate infecting other programs on a computer. Just like how humans catch a cold or flu, it can remain dormant inside the system and gets activated when you least expect it.
A computer virus is developed to spread from one host to another and there are numerous ways on how your computer catches it. It can be through email attachments, file downloads, software installations, or unsecured links.
These viruses can steal your data such as passwords, hacked into your social media accounts or online banking accounts, and even wiped out all your data.
Common Types Of Computer Viruses
Cybercriminals are getting better and better in stealing our confidential data and viruses that are being created are evolving rapidly. There are millions of viruses around the world, but here are some common types you should be aware of:
1. File-infecting Virus
A virus that attached itself to an executable program. It is also called a parasitic virus which typically infects file with .exe or .com extensions. Some file infectors can overwrite host files and others can damage your hard drive’s formatting.
2. Macro Virus
This type of virus is commonly found in programs such as Microsoft Word or Excel. These viruses are usually stored as part of a document and can spread when the files are transmitted to other computers, often through email attachments.
3. Browser Hijacker
This virus targets and alters your browser setting. It is often called browser redirect virus because it redirects your browser to other malicious websites that you don’t have any intention of visiting. This virus can pose other threats such as changing the default home page of your browser.
4. Web Scripting Virus
A very sneaky virus that targets popular websites. What this virus does is they overwrite code on a website and insert links that can install malicious software on your device. Web scripting viruses can steal your cookies and use the information to post on your behalf on the infected website.
5. Boot Sector Virus
These viruses are once common back when computers are booted from floppy disks. Today, these viruses are found distributed in forms of physical media such as external hard drives or USB. If the computer is infected with a boot sector virus, it automatically loads into the memory enabling control of your computer.
6. Polymorphic Virus
This virus has the capability to evade anti-virus programs since it can change codes every time an infected file is performed.
7. Resident Virus
A resident virus stores itself on your computer’s memory which allows them to infect files on your computer. This virus can interfere with your operating system leading to file and program corruption.
8. Multipartite Virus
A type of virus that is very infectious and can easily spread on your computer system. It can infect multiple parts of a system including memory, files, and boot sector which makes it difficult to contain.
Related Article: What To Do When Your Computer Is Hacked?
Protection Against These Types Computer Viruses
A virus left untreated can wreak havoc on your device but if detected early, and appropriate measures are done, then the recovery would be quick. Just like how we protect ourselves from catching a virus, here are a few notes to remember to help keep your devices safe.
- Avoid clicking on suspicious links.
- Scan email attachments before opening it.
- Avoid clicking on pop-up advertisements and get a pop-up blocker for your web browser.
- When routed to another website, don’t do anything, and immediately leave the site.
- Install a reliable anti-virus program and always keep it up to date.