How do computer viruses work?
A computer virus is a type of malware that inserts itself into your computer and then replicated itself, often without you knowing. In other words, a virus is a piece of code that can replicate itself without the user’s knowledge or permission. Once a virus infiltrates your computer, it can spread to other computers connected to yours, like those in your home or office network.
The latest definition of virus by malware researchers refers to anything that can spread itself and cause harm. This definition leaves room for a lot of malicious software that doesn’t traditionally fit the definition of a virus, like spyware, adware, and ransomware.
A virus must meet two criteria to be considered a virus:
It must execute itself. This means the code must be able to run on its own, without needing any other files to run first.
It must replicate itself. This means the virus must be able to copy itself to other files or locations on your computer.
The best way to protect your computer from a virus is to install antivirus software and keep it up-to-date. Antivirus software is designed to detect, block, and remove viruses. When you install antivirus software, it will scan your computer for viruses and remove any that it finds.
There are a few different ways that computer viruses can spread:
Email attachments: Email is one of the most common ways that viruses spread. A virus can be hidden in an attachment, and when you open the attachment, the virus will run on your computer.
Downloads: Any time you download something from the Internet, there is a risk that it could contain a virus. This is especially true for software that you download from websites that are not well-known or trusted.
Infected websites: When you visit a website, it can run code on your computer. If that website is infected with a virus, the virus can run on your computer.
Most viruses are created to make money for their creator. The creator can do this in a few different ways:
By selling the virus: The creator can sell the virus to someone who wants to use it to infect other people’s computers.
By using the virus to steal information: The virus can be used to steal information from the computers it infects. This information can be sold or used to commit identity theft.
By displaying ads: Some viruses will display ads on the computers they infect. The creator of the virus gets paid every time someone sees one of the ads.
By mining cryptocurrency: Some viruses will use the infected computer’s resources to mine cryptocurrency. The creator of the virus gets paid in cryptocurrency for every block that is mined.
Some viruses are created for fun or to prove a point. These viruses, called “proof-of-concept” or “experimental” viruses, are not made to cause damage or make money. They are created to show that it is possible to create a virus that can infect a computer.
Most viruses are created by people who have the technical knowledge to write code. However, there are now some viruses that are created using software that anyone can download and use. These “virus creation kits” make it easy for someone with no programming knowledge to create a virus.
What are some of the most common computer viruses?
The most common computer viruses are known as worms, which are able to spread themselves and infect other computers without any user interaction. The other common type of virus is known as a Trojan horse, which tricks users into downloading and executing it by pretending to be something else, like a legitimate program or file. There are also many other less common types of viruses, like boot sector and macro viruses.
We used malwarezero.org to write this article about computer viruses. Click here to learn more.