Understanding how a computer virus works and spreads

There are few situations that are worse than when you have work to do or some form of research to perform, you sit down comfortably in front of your personal computer and then you are suddenly over whelmed with anti-virus alerts or even worse, a screen locker virus that is preventing you from accessing anything on your computer.

Understanding how a computer virus works and spreads

Viruses can create a technological holocaust for millions of computers around the world. Businesses fret over the potential for a catastrophic meltdown of networks. Individual consumers worry about zapping their computer's hard drive simply by clicking the wrong e-mail attachment. Experts say such worries are well-founded, but emphasize that a combination of the latest anti-virus software and common sense will drastically reduce the odds of being infected.

The cost of not taking such precautions can be high. How they work, and what to look for. Dreaded computer viruses, you hear all about these nasty nasties, but do you really know what they are and what havoc they can wreak?

The mere thought conjures up devastation and turmoil and can get your imagination rolling. Tall tales, such as the Good Times Virus and other hoaxes, have made it hard for most of us non-anti-virus researchers to determine fact from fiction.

How Are Computer Viruses Spread?

The following description seeks to get to the bottom of just what viruses are, how to avoid infestation, how to determine if you've caught one, and what to do if you have.

In the simplest of terms, a virus is a computer program that reproduces itself and attaches that copy to other computer programs. It does so in such a way that its instructions viral code are carried forward when the infected program is launched or when an infected disk is left in the disk drive and allowed to boot.

The most troubling part about this is that it is done without the consent or knowledge of the computer user. Viruses can be as benign as a minor case of acne, such as those that display pleasant or annoying messages, or as malignant as a full spread disease, such as those that destroy your data files and system.

Rest assured, only a small percentage of viruses are of the latter type. In fact, there are nearly 20, known viruses for the PC There are a lot less Mac viruses.

A computer virus, much like a flu virus, is designed to spread from host to host and has the ability to replicate itself. Similarly, in the same way that flu viruses cannot reproduce without a host cell, computer viruses cannot reproduce and spread without programming such as a file or document. Oct 18,  · This video shows how one type of malware can get onto a computer and what can be done with it. There are tens of thousands of different types of . Computer viruses usually spread in one of three ways: from removable media; from downloads off the Internet; and from e-mail attachments. Although the Internet gets a bad rap as a source of viruses, you’re no more likely to contract a virus from the Web than you are from packaged software.

Of that, only are known to cause serious damage. For more information on the prevalence of viruses, visit http: All viruses follow pretty much the same course of action. When the virus code is run it reproduces and infects other programs. When it starts to spread is usually a characteristic of that particular virus.

Some infect each time they are run. Other more tricky ones infect when triggered by a certain time, date, function, or other external event. Then some have an attack phase, otherwise known as a "payload," associated with them.

A payload is the damaging effect of the virus that runs the gamut from deleting files or randomly changing data on your disk to playing music or creating messages or animations on your screen. When the virus inflicts its damage is also characteristic of the particular virus.

Understanding how a computer virus works and spreads

But most delay doing so only until after they've had time to spread. Some are written to spread only which is bothersome as well because they take up space and slow down your system.

A graduate student at MIT, as part of a controlled experiment he was conducting, wrote the first virus in A year later, hackers caught on and began writing and spreading viruses. By the number of viruses found in the wild started to flourish.

There are several types of viruses: Some viruses can possess characteristics of more than one of these types.

Understanding how a computer virus works and spreads

Some will spread the virus to others and damage the most valuable thing: Viruses are programs that replicate themselves inside a computer. The malicious bug cannot do its damage when a user simply surfs the Web or opens a plain text message such as an e-mail.

However, viruses are unleashed when they are hidden in attachments to e-mail messages and someone opens that attachment. After viruses replicate, many carry out damaging instructions that have been programmed into them.

The Melissa virus from March is a good example of how viruses inflict damage. Melissa lurked inside an e-mail Microsoft Word attachment. The person who received the message had no reason to suspect anything dangerous; in fact, the e-mail's subject line appeared to be from someone the recipient recognized.Strange as it may sound, the computer virus is something of an Information Age marvel.

On one hand, viruses show us how vulnerable we are -- a properly engineered virus can have a devastating effect, disrupting productivity and doing billions of dollars in damages.

Computer viruses usually spread in one of three ways: from removable media; from downloads off the Internet; and from e-mail attachments. Although the Internet gets a bad rap as a source of viruses, you’re no more likely to contract a virus from the Web than you are from packaged software.

Real Business Owners,

When ransomware first hit the scene a few years ago, computers predominantly got infected when users opened e-mail attachments containing malware, or were lured to a compromised website by a deceptive e-mail or pop-up window.

Newer variants of ransomware have been seen to spread through removable. On one hand, viruses show us how vulnerable we are -- a properly engineered virus can have a devastating effect, disrupting productivity and doing billions of dollars in damages.

On the other hand, they show us how sophisticated and interconnected human beings have become. A computer virus, much like a flu virus, is designed to spread from host to host and has the ability to replicate itself.

Similarly, in the same way that flu viruses cannot reproduce without a host cell, computer viruses cannot reproduce and spread without programming such as a file or document.

How Viruses Spread - timberdesignmag.com

Computer Virus- Anatomy of a Virus. What is a computer Virus and how do they work? Viruses can create a technological holocaust for millions of computers around the world. Businesses fret over the potential for a catastrophic meltdown of networks.

How Do Computer Viruses Spread? | timberdesignmag.com