What is a computer virus?
A computer virus is a malware program that replicates by making copies of itself and inserting these copies into other computer programs, data files, or the boot sector of the hard drive.
What are viruses used for?
Viruses often perform activities that are usually harmful, such as stealing hard disk space or CPU time, accessing private information, corrupting data, displaying political or humorous messages on the user’s screen, spamming their contacts, keep track of any keys that are pressed, or even rendering the computer useless.
How do I get infected with viruses?
Accepting without reading
Probably the most common way to get your computer infected with viruses is click accept on something you see without actually reading it. This is the type of situation where you are browsing the internet when you get a popup saying your computer is infected or that you need a unique plugin and you click on it without understanding what you just accepted.
Downloading infected software
This usually occurs when you are looking for a specific software to download but when you search for you get tons on options and you never know which one to choose. If you can’t find any other options and you choose to download from one of the sites still feeling unsure about it, then I suggest that you run the download through your antivirus upon completion.
Opening Email Attachments
Lots of the time you get random emails from things that you’ve never seen before or you never signed up for and sometimes these things come with attachments. If that may be the case then run the attachment through your antivirus software to make sure that the file isn’t infected. This method is usually used for Phishing and sometimes Pharming purposes.
Inserting Infected Devices
Any disk, USB or hard drive that you insert/connect to your computer can be infected with a virus. So if you ever get a USB or disk from a friend, make sure that you scan it before opening or using it.
Pirating/Torrenting has become a huge thing nowadays and that has made it easy for hackers infect peoples computers. If you ever decide to Pirate something, make sure you scan it before opening the file upon completion of download.
How do prevent being infected?
Antivirus programs scan for viruses trying to get into your email, operating system, or files. Make sure you always keep your antivirus up to date because there are always new viruses that are being created so keeping it updated protects you from those new viruses.
Keep your Operating System up to date
If you are using a windows based computer then ensure to keep your windows up to date because Microsoft releases security updates all the time so it would be best to keep your computer on auto update.
Use a Firewall
A firewall is essential for every computer because it alerts you about suspicious activity if a virus is trying to connect to your computer. It can also prevent viruses, worms or hackers from downloading potentially harmful software onto your computer.
Turn on User Account Control
When changes are going to made to your computer that requires administrator-level permissions, the UAC gives you the opportunity to approve these changes. This helps prevent hackers or viruses from trying to changes things on your computer in the background.
How do I get rid of Viruses?
The best way to get rid of viruses is to use your antivirus to delete or quarantine the virus. Another way that the most effective but should be last resort is to reinstall or reformat your operating system.