Computer Viruses: Your Complete Guide

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Computer Viruses: Your Complete Guide

Key Points:
  • Some current computer viruses include: Boot Sector Viruse, Direct Action Virus, ILOVEYOU Virus, Morris Worm Virus, Polymorphic Virus, and Resident Virus.
  • It’s important to have antivirus software installed on your devices and keep it updated.
  • Avoid suspicious websites who share names with trusted brands that have been slightly altered, or sites with URLs that have odd combinations of numbers or letters included in the names.
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Computer viruses can attack computer browsers and operating systems, wreaking havoc on their functionality.

©Erik Svoboda/Shutterstock.com

From mildly invasive to completely destructive, computer viruses can attack our browsers and operating systems with a vengeance. Costing an estimated $55 billion annually in repairs, the best remedy when it comes to computer viruses is typically not to get them in the first place. Of course, that might be easier said than done. Even Macs, which supposedly can’t be infected with viruses, are susceptible — so don’t be fooled by all of the myths out there!

Guide to Current Computer Viruses

Whether you suspect your computer has been infected, or you’re simply curious about various viruses and how they work, here’s a master list of computer viruses that you should know about.

Tips to Avoid Computer Viruses

It would be wonderful to avoid a computer virus in the first place. Here’s some helpful tips to do so:

#1 Install Antivirus software on your computer

Your best mode of defense against computer viruses is to install a trusted antivirus software onto your computer or device. In our day and age, with all the advancements (both positive and negative) that have been made in cyberspace, it is simply not safe to do any online activity (shopping, online banking, browsing) without being vulnerable to cyberthreats. Trusted security software can protect your devices from viruses, malware, phishing, and other threats you may encounter.

#2 Update your software when new patches are available

Hopefully you have quality antivirus software installed on your computer or device working its magic. But new threats are constantly coming up in the cyberworld, so these software companies have to constantly identify software vulnerabilities and then create updates to their software to cover the new threats. You, in turn, need to routinely install these updates to your computer or device so that nothing slips between the cracks.

#3 Handle email attachments with care

One common source of computer viruses is spamming emails. Cybercriminals send emails that contain attachments, that when downloaded, attack your computer. These emails can even contain photos that infect your computer through merely opening the email. If you receive an email from an unknown source, or if it looks suspicious, it’s best to ignore or delete the email. You can also set your email software to disable image previews in Options or Settings.

#4 Avoid visiting suspicious websites

While most internet sites you’ll encounter are legitimate, there are a hoard of websites that can contain cyberthreats. They implant viruses through elements like drive-by downloads, malicious advertisements, and misleading click-bait. Some of these sites have suspicious names, from a mixture of numbers and letters to those whose names resemble trusted brands, but with a URL variation or extra characters in the site name. These are indicators its a fake site. Avoid these sites to protect yourself from the threats they pose.

#5 Don’t use pirated software

Pirated, or illegally copied files, are usually passed around from person to person or obtained on obscure websites. While most folks are simply looking for a copy of a favorite movie, TV series, or even a game, there are also unsavory characters who have implanted viruses in these types of files. You have to take caution whenever you download something “free.” The best way to avoid a virus in this manner is to avoid illegal downloads.

#6 Use a cloud backup

It’s important to always backup your computer files in case a virus does attack. Nowadays, you can store files on backup drivers, or make use of cloud storage to hold copies of your files which won’t get contaminated. If your computer becomes infected, you’d have the option of wiping it and restoring it to its state before infection occurred.

Are you curious about the difference between a virus and a worm? How about a virus and malware? Keep learning!

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