What is a computer virus?
A computer virus is a code that has the ability to duplicate itself and manipulate other applications in a computer’s system.
These codes are usually created by ‘dirty’ hackers and computer programmers to enable them gain access into the computer system of others illegally. Some are also created just to destroy other computer programs. These computer viruses can corrupt your computer’s system and render it useless until an action is taken. From freezing to duplicating applications are the most common significations that your computer has a virus.
Examples of popular computer viruses
- SQL Slammer
- Code Red
Computer virus can get to a computer through one means or the other. Most a times computer users infect their own computers with computer virus but unintentionally. This is because some of the sources of these computer viruses do not really appear to computer users as a source of computer virus. So, what are the sources of computer virus including the sources that really don’t look like one?
The sources of computer viruses
Downloads from unsecured websites
There are viruses on a lot of websites, especially the websites with a lot of links. You might click on a link to download a file or an application but before you realize, you have downloaded a virus unknowingly. This usually happens because the hypertexts are mostly familiar words, like, “download your file here”. There are other genuine links with similar hypertexts but before you follow or click on any link to download anything, make sure you are on an authorized website. Try scanning downloaded files with antivirus before opening or running them.
An email attachment could be a virus sent straight to your email address. Some email attachments are viruses so do not just open or click on them. Only click on an email attachment if it is from a trusted source, otherwise, do not click on it at all. Just move it to your spam list to avoid any malware or virus that comes with it.
Removable storage devices
Removable computer storage devices can easily be infected with a computer virus based on the fact that they are plugged into many other computers. If an infected removable storage device is plugged into your computer and you open it without scanning for viruses using an antivirus, your computer will be infected too. Some of the computer viruses do not even need you to open the storage device before they start spreading in your computer’s system, all they need is for you to connect the storage device to your computer and they will do the rest. To avoid this from happening, make sure you scan the removable storage device thoroughly with an updated antivirus software to clear viruses (if there is any) before opening the removable storage device. Examples of antivirus software are; AVG antivirus, avast antivirus, avira,ESET NOD32, MacAfee, Kaspersky etc.
When you wirelessly receive files onto your computer from another computer or other devices, a virus could be received as well and it does not matter the type of wireless means or application used. Make sure all received files are scanned with an updated antivirus software before opening.
When computers are on a network, they are connected to each other to share files and other information. This means, if one computer is infected, the rest get infected too. So if your computer is on a network, then all the computers on the network including yours must have updated antivirus installed.