Virus infection is a nuisance that disrupts the operating processes of computer systems. As operating systems become more sophisticated, virus infections also develop to penetrate through advanced firewalls and pass-through virus scans without being easily detected.
Software maintenance is important to protect your software system from virus infection. Just like taking care of our physical and mental health to prevent sickness and diseases, software maintenance is also important to keep your software running smoothly.
In this article, you will learn the following:
- The first virus infection
- Risks of virus infection
- What causes virus infections
- Types of common computer virus infections
- How do you protect your computer from virus infection
When and what was the first computer virus infection?
The first virus called Creeper, infected operating systems in 1981. This experimental self-duplicating program virus was created by Bob Thomas at BBN. It spread through Apple’s floppy drives and inflicted severe damage. However, it was not meant to inflict damage rather it was a test if a self-replicating program was possible to be created.
Virus infection is a classic cautionary tale. There is a 57% chance of virus infection that threaten computers and sabotage the system’s security. The most common viruses are known as Trojans, adware, and malware, but there are more types of viruses that infect systems and inflict considerable damage. Unfortunately, some systems do not recover from it.
The risks of virus infection
The following are significant damages that virus infections could inflict upon your computer. You should not ignore these risks because they endanger your operating system once they have entered your computer system. Here are the following risks that most people experience from virus infections:
- Unauthorized access to your system
Unauthorized access can inflict considerable damage or breach confidential data. This breach through a virus infection can also be used as a strategy for ransomware. For most companies like financial institutions or insurance/legal firms, data security is crucial.
- Corrupts files or software applications
This risk is a common occurrence that results from virus infection. This is a crucial risk especially if operating systems need certain high-powered software applications to efficiently run their processes. Aside from software applications, the security of certain confidential files could be compromised and at times, may not be able to be recovered.
- Disable computers or software/mobile applications
Some virus infections are powerful enough to shut down systems or render software applications useless. This type of virus can alter the code of certain applications. This compromise is unthinkable, especially with industries that operate around the clock. Examples of these industries are airlines, banks, and hospitals.
- Identity theft
This classic cybercrime technique through a virus infection could grant the hacker access to personal information. This personal information can then be used for various malicious activities online and offline that do not have the authority and knowledge of the person with the real identity.
- Operation of unauthorized fraudulent activities
These fraudulent activities through a virus infection are sneaky and undetected that pose significant risks for personal, fiscal, and other significant damage. You will never know that your IP address is being used to conduct these activities or if your credit information is already being used for unauthorized purchases.
- Slows down or disrupts operating systems
There are many reasons why an operating system is slow or is not working. Virus infection in the system is one of them. This virus infection could be deliberately slowing down an operating system for purposes of cyberattacks.
Additionally, data mining is a process that is used to turn raw data into significant information by using software to locate patterns in large batches of database systems. With data mining, company/business data is not guaranteed complete protection in cyberspace.
Where do viruses come from
Regardless of whether you are cautious or not, computers can become infected through typical activities such as:
- Opening spam email or a spam email attachment without scanning them first
Spam emails contain malicious elements that if clicked, in turn, will be downloaded and infect the system. These attachments come in tricky forms because they are sent as the usual file types such as Word documents and other common file types.
- Visiting and performing activities on spam sites
Visiting dubious sites with unconventional characters in their website’s link or in its name is an indication that the site might be selling or asking for solicited donations and personal information. Aside from asking for this confidential information, spam sites also ask people to click on links that contain malicious elements that can contain a virus.
- Sharing files with others
Sharing files online or with an external storage device is one of the most convenient techniques in which viruses can be transmitted because viruses can infect the system receiving the file right away since the virus goes together with the infected file or application that is being shared.
- Downloading free malicious software
As they say, if it is free then there is a catch. This catch could unfortunately be a virus infection. These free programs/files could be films, games, and other enticing applications. These applications, if downloaded, can contain a virus that infects the entire computer system when running the application. This is also a strategy by hackers to infiltrate the system to access data or bring down the whole software system of an organization.
- Using unlicensed software applications
Using unlicensed software applications is inciting because you think you are going to save money, but eventually, they might cost you more money than buying licensed applications, to begin with. This is because some unlicensed software contains a virus that would force the unfortunate user to buy a virus extractor application in the end. Some viruses require a strong virus scan/extractor to be completely removed from the system. High-quality virus extractor software is expensive.
Types of viruses that plague computers
Software maintenance is necessary to protect your systems. A considerable cost of installing virus applications/subscriptions can save you from the hassle of significant security breaches and disruption to business operations.
The following are common types of viruses:
- Overwrite Virus
The overwrite virus does what its name implies – it deletes data. Most of the time, the file will stop working or as most people describe it, the file is corrupted.Aside from deleting data, this virus can also insert malicious code within your system’s default code.
Precautions: It is wise to backup significant files/data into offline (detached hard drive) or online storage (cloud storage).
- Polymorphic Virus
The polymorphic virus attacks software programs/files by duplicating an application by encoding itself through different algorithms and encryption keys. Further, it is challenging for virus scanners to detect a polymorphic virus because it is self-encrypted.
Precautions: Installation of advanced antivirus/virus scanner programs.
- Multipartite Virus
The multipartite virus is another one on the list that significantly affects the hard disk. This virus attacks the operating system of computers and usually changes the content of applications. The consequences of this virus attack are slow performance and low virtual memory of the system.
Precautions: Avoid downloading dubious attachments from websites/emails and running malicious software programs.
- Direct Action Virus
The result of the direct action virus describes how fast the virus infects all files and data found in “Autoexec.bat.” The virus also corrupts data that is on the hard disk or the USB device attached to the hardware during the infection. It is challenging for virus scanners to detect the virus because it changes its location during every scan.
Precaution: Installation of a high-quality antivirus scanner is necessary.
- The Macro Virus
The macro virus is very tricky because it is embedded through essential software such as MS Word. MS Word could embed the macro virus. The virus is written in the same macro language as the software it infects and automatically runs when the infected file is opened.
Precautions: Before downloading/opening files from USBs or emails, scan the files first with a high-quality virus scanner.
Protecting computers from viruses
Protecting our computer system is essential for peace of mind. Security maintenance protects more than just our software but also our identities and operating processes. As mentioned earlier, there is considerable damage if we do not prioritize system security.
Aside from installing anti-virus programs, these are other ways that you can protect your operating systems:
- Install a high-quality anti-virus program– installing an anti-virus program is critical. It needs to be a high-quality program so that it can scan your system efficiently.
- Scan the files that you are going to download first– always scan email attachments and new software applications before opening and running these new downloads.
- Do not trust free software- avoid downloading and running software that comes for “free” as this tends to be tied to hacked streaming/service sites and if you download, you might be authorizing malware or virus to infect your computer.
- Install an efficient anti-malware program–installing a reputable anti-malware program can help to detect advanced forms of malware and provide protection from ransomware attacks. For example, anti-malware programs can spot, block, and remove spyware and adware threats that do not act like regular viruses and may not be detected by anti-virus programs.
- Refrain from performing dubious downloads– downloading from dubious sources is a risk because you will also be downloading its malware/virus encryption that may infect your computer.
- Hiring IT staff or IT Managed Services– if you are in e-commerce or part of an organization with complex database management, security management is even more critical and you need to ensure you have the expertise of IT professionals, especially if you are storing a large volume of personal information and performing monetary transactions. Aside from the crucial management of data, you also need the experience and knowledge of IT staff or an IT Managed Service provider in maintaining data security and keeping computers and systems fully functional and safe.
We protect your computers from virus infections
Do not allow virus infections to disrupt your operating systems. Prioritize software maintenance and data protection to avoid costly repairs both in value and to your organization’s reputation. Prevention and mitigation are better than significant data security breaches and damage.
We help you in protecting your computer software so that you can maintain your system efficiently and securely. If you want to learn more about our security software services, please reach out to Frank at [email protected] or call (847) 894-6304.