The 21st Century Virus

The deadly computer virus.

By now, we’ve all heard of the computer virus. We hear about it when viruses infect computers on a massive scale and it makes the news. When browsing websites, we’ve seen warnings of threats of viruses trying to get into our computers. We’ve even seen films with stories that revolve around viruses causing destruction of incredible proportions. There is even an anti-virus maker who had gained a huge amount of wealth and popularity then went on to running for the President of the United States of America.

But what exactly is a computer virus? A virus, like that in which humans can experience, is something that makes you sick. It is a disease that prevents you from being the way you normally are and it forces you to undergo medication in order to try to find a cure. The difference is that computer viruses are built with a hunger so voracious that it has become relentless in attacking your computers files and functions. Your computer can lose all of its data, act on its own without a single human keystroke, and even stop working entirely. And the bad news is that computer viruses are still being discovered every single day, in spite of the worldwide fight against them. What’s even worse, is that no one is exempt from being a possible victim because viruses are passed by using everyday functions of computer use like sharing pictures, music, and files, opening email attachments, downloading a free app or game, as well as other common uses.

Viruses spread across networks and create multiple copies of themselves in a secretive manner so that it avoids even being noticed. The virus also needs to enter into the system in order to execute its code. They act like parasites and attack multiple areas so that they can spread their disease when a specific program is turned on and running. And as long as the virus remains in your system, it can repeat its infectious actions on the different areas of your computer that are operating.

They are also able to spread further depending on how much time it takes before they are noticed. Sometimes it spreads so far and wide before you know that it’s even there, but by then, it’s done the damage it was designed to do. They scramble their code in order to avoid being detected, and they interrupt computer programs which make the user unable to see that they’re even there.

Signs and Symptoms

Because there are so many different types of viruses, there are also a number of different symptoms of how they affect your computer. Some delete your files or in worse cases, reformat your hard drive. Others create commands so busy that it makes it impossible to use your computer for any other purpose. Then there are others that take away your computer’s memory which can then cause a complete crash.

Because of this, it is not always the most obvious thing to know if your computer has been infected by a virus. But there are a few signs that one can look for to try to find out. If you find that your computer is running slower than it should be, if your computer is behaving in odd ways from what you’re used to, if you can’t figure out how come there are files missing, and if your computer is suddenly shutting down or crashing, these are some of the more obvious signs of an infection.

The Infection

As we have learned, viruses spread. The same way people get viruses from other people, computers get viruses from other computers. Some of these ways in a more precise manner of speaking would be through starting up your system from an infected medium, or opening up an infected file, or booting up a program that is carrying the virus.

These can transpire by using floppy disks or other media devices, or by opening an e-mail attachment, or when one downloads pirated software, as well as shareware.

The Cure

Luckily, as mentioned earlier, there are a number of anti viruses that one can use to prevent the infection of a virus. You can also read information on how a virus can penetrate your computer and this will better protect you by being able to recognize security threats. Here are a few other steps you can take in order to do your part at keeping your computer healthy and virus free.

  • Use an anti virus
  • Get anti virus software
  • Make sure your antivirus is always up to date
  • Keep your operating system updated regularly
  • Increase the security settings of your operating system
  • Do not visit questionable websites
  • Do not download software from sites that you don’t trust
  • Avoid opening email messages from people you don’t know
  • Immediately delete messages that you think may be spam

To further continue the fight against these dangerous diseases, simply follow these five kinds of counter measure:

  1. Preparation. Create backups of all your software and have a contingency plan.
  2. Prevention. Be aware. Use caution when opening attachments and files that are not from absolutely trusted sources.
  3. Detection. Use anti virus software to detect if a virus is trying to infect your PC and to disinfect your system.
  4. Containment. Being able to keep the infected code where it is and from spreading any further.
  5. Recovery. After the disinfection, remove the virus and recover the data that had been corrupted.

Remember that not protecting your computer is like welcoming a virus to infect your PC. Install a firewall which will help monitor your internet activity, doing this makes it more difficult for online scammers to locate you, those without firewalls make it very easy for them to find you and that makes you an easy target. The most dangerous threats on the internet are spyware and computer viruses, but thankfully there are products like Webroot Internet Security, Essentials, and Webroot antivirus that offer complete protection which keep these deadly diseases away.

However, in spite of these safety measures, there are still viruses that can penetrate your protection. This is why it is vital to always have the most updated versions of antivirus protection.