The Different Types of Viruses

Mihai-Alexandru Cristea 23/05/2022 | 22:06

Technology has made our lives incredibly easy in our modern society. Smartphones, laptops, and tablets can do just about anything you need, and just about everyone has one of these devices. On top of that, the list of people who own a deviceis growing day by day.

 

As much as our devices have made our lives easier and more convenient, they also put us at risk sometimes. You may have heard of computer viruses before, but very few people look further into malicious software and the dangers that they pose to your devices.

What many people don’t know is that computer viruses can come in different forms, and each one creates a different threat that you need to be aware of. It might be impossible to know about all the different types of viruses, but we’re going to cover the major viruses down below and how you can protect your device against them.

 

What is a Computer Virus

If you’ve got a device of your own — whether it’s a laptop, smartphone, or tablet — you’ve likely heard of viruses before. We’re constantly warned to be careful of viruses because of the damage that they could do to our devices. However, we never truly look further into the subject, so what exactly is a “virus”?

A computer virus, unlike its biological counterpart, is man-made. Viruses are a form of malicious software, which is a dangerous type of software that is developed by cybercriminals to do damage to your device, stealing your identity, or spying on you. 

Viruses can be designed to do whatever the creator wants them to do. This means you never know whether the virus on your device is dangerous or not. All the more reason to protect your device against all viruses — we’ll get into that a little bit later!

Some viruses are designed to just be annoying and to try and frustrate the user. In this case, viruses can send hundreds of pop-ups to your device within minutes, for example, or they can simply make your device extremely slow and impossible to use. We’ll be looking at the more dangerous forms of viruses in the next section.

 

How Does a Virus Make Its Way Onto my Device?

You might be wondering how a virus can make its way onto your device. The dangerous thing about a virus is that it can be transmitted from one device to another, much like a biological virus can be transmitted from one person to another. Computer viruses can spread through links, emails, and even physical media devices such as USBs and external hard drives.

Cybercriminals will also use phishing to install malware such as viruses on their victim’s devices. Phishing is when the hackers send fraudulent emails to their victim’s inbox and urges them to interact with a link or attachment in the email. However, as soon as the victim interacts with the link or attachment the virus will be installed on their device.

Phishing has grown beyond simple emails though, and this has made phishing much more dangerous as hackers experience more success. Cybercriminals use social engineering to trick their victims into interacting with their emails. They do this by posing as a person or a company that they might know and trust.  On top of that, cybercriminals also sometimes use phishing on social media through direct messages. Remember, links can be hidden as images and icons too all around the internet, so be careful what you click on.

 

Different Types of Computer Viruses

There are different types of computer viruses to be aware of. These are incredibly dangerous and although you might not know how to stop them, it’s important to identify a virus and what damage it could be doing to your device.

  • Boot sector viruses – Boot sector viruses can spread through the computer’s storage systems, from anything from hard drives to USB sticks. These viruses are difficult to remove from your device, and usually require the storage or media device to be completely reformatted, erasing all data in the process.
  • File infecting viruses – These are some of the most common viruses that you might come across. As the name suggests, these are viruses that overwrite code in executable files (infecting the files). When the infected file is opened by the user, it will be destroyed, and you’ll lose all of the information in the file. This virus will also spread if the file is shared with other people, making it more dangerous. The only way to remove this virus is to delete the infected files. It’s always best to back up your work onto secure cloud storage.
  • Resident viruses – Resident viruses are some of the most dangerous viruses that you might come across. They can often go undetected by antivirus software since they are hidden in a computer’s RAM. They can also clone themselves if the original virus is deleted, which is why they are so difficult to get rid of.
  • Web scripting virus – This virus is often found on popular websites which victims believe might be secure. This virus steals your cookies (online data). Even worse though, is that it overwrites code on a website (such as Facebook or a banking website) which allows it to insert links that will install other malicious software on your device when you click on them. 

 

How to Protect Your Device Against Viruses

Luckily there is a way that you can keep yourself safe against all of these viruses. All you need is one premium cybersecurity tool to help your device defend itself against these threats. It’s important to have this software installed if you don’t want to put your device at risk.

The tool you need is premium antivirus software. Antivirus software will constantly scan your device for any viruses, and if any have been detected they can be removed from your device. Premium antivirus software is available for different types of devices, whether you have a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. You must always ensure that your antivirus software is kept up to date if you want to have the best possible level of protection against viruses and other forms of malware.

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