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COMPUTER VIRUS What is a computer virus?

A computer virus is a small software program that spreads from one computer to another computer and that interferes with computer operation. A computer virus may corrupt or delete data on a computer, use an e-mail program to spread the virus to other computers, or even delete everything on the hard disk. A virus is code written with the malicious intent of causing destruction to other people's computers. Unlike the programs that are on your Windows desktop which you execute by double-clicking with your mouse, a virus is executed usually in secret and triggered by another program. These other programs are called infected files. The virus could actually replace itself as the executable file of another program. Destruction could be as bad as totally wiping out the contents of your hard disk drive or overwriting your PC's system BIOS or a combination of both, rendering your computer totally useless. The usual sources of computer virus contamination are: 1. attached programs via email; 2. using somebody else's contaminated software (usually through USB drives or floppy disks); 3. a security hole in your network. Trojan Horse This is an allusion to Greek mythology where Greek soldiers hid inside the hollow belly of a wooden horse which was offered as a peace offering to the Trojan army after they had soundly routed the Greeks. As the Trojans were drunkenly celebrating their victory over the Greeks, the Greek soldiers came out of the wooden horse (which was now in Trojan territory) and slaughtered all the Trojan citizens. A trojan virus works in the same way--it's an intruder that lies hidden somewhere in your PC's hard drive and does its damage without the owner even noticing. A trojan can be triggered or it can run itself, causing loss of data and may also steal important data stored on your hard drive (identity theft). Worm A virus requires a contaminated program to execute; so not unlike a trojan a worm can actually propagate itself. Worms usually affect networked environments, such as offices, internet providers, web hosts etc. Worms are usually embedded in other files, such as Microsoft Word documents. Once the document is read, the worm is released and begins to travel from network to network, carrying the infected document's macro with it.

Computer Bug is an error, flaw, mistake, failure, or fault in a computer program that prevents it from working correctly or produces an incorrect result. Bugs arise from mistakes and errors, made by people, in either a program's source code or its design Malware, short for malicious software, is software designed to infiltrate a computer system without the owner's informed consent. Spyware is a type of malware that is installed on computers and collects little bits of information at a time about users without their knowledge. The presence of spyware is typically hidden from the user, and can be difficult to detect. Why people create computer virus? There are hundreds of thousands of viruses out there (if not millions) and they often designed for different objectives. Most of them fall under the following categories: To take control of a computer and use it for specific tasks To generate money To steal sensitive information (credit card numbers, passwords, personal details, data etc.) To prove a point, to prove it can be done, to prove ones skill or for revenge purposes To cripple a computer or network Symptoms of computer virus If you suspect or confirm that your computer is infected with a computer virus, obtain the current antivirus software. The following are some primary indicators that a computer may be infected: The computer runs slower than usual. The computer stops responding, or it locks up frequently. The computer crashes, and then it restarts every few minutes. The computer restarts on its own. Additionally, the computer does not run as usual. Applications on the computer do not work correctly.

Disks or disk drives are inaccessible. You cannot print items correctly. You see unusual error messages. You see distorted menus and dialog boxes. There is a double extension on an attachment that you recently opened, such as a .jpg, .vbs, .gif, or .exe. extension. An antivirus program is disabled for no reason. Additionally, the antivirus program cannot be restarted. An antivirus program cannot be installed on the computer, or the antivirus program will not run. New icons appear on the desktop that you did not put there, or the icons are not associated with any recently installed programs. Strange sounds or music plays from the speakers unexpectedly. A program disappears from the computer even though you did not intentionally remove the program.

Note These are common signs of infection. However, these signs may also be caused by hardware or software problems that have nothing to do with a computer virus. Unless you run the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool, and then you install industry-standard, up-to-date antivirus software on your computer, you cannot be certain whether a computer is infected with a computer virus or not. Different Types of Virus File Virus (File Infectors) Falling under the category of parasitic viruses, a program or file infector attempts to infect the files with extension code like .exe, .com, .drv, .dil, .bin, .ovl, and .sys. It gets activate along with the execution of executable file containing virus. The virus then loads itself into memory and replicates itself to other executable files when these files are opened or run. The File Infector virus can destroy the content contained in files and cause irreversible damage to them. Some file viruses have also operated as email worm and Trojan horse. The best way to disinfect files infected by the file virus is to delete them and restore from back up. Boot-Sector Virus This type of virus affects the boot sector of a floppy or hard disk. This is a crucial part of a disk, in which information on the disk itself is stored together with a program that makes it possible to boot (start) the computer from the disk. The best way of avoiding boot viruses is to ensure that floppy disks are write-protected and never start your computer with an unknown floppy disk in the disk drive. Examples of boot viruses include: Polyboot.B, AntiEXE. Macro Virus A macro computer virus is a virus written in a language built into a software application such as a word processor. For example: Microsoft Office has the macro language built into its application. This is why most of its application programs are affected by macro computer virus. Macro viruses are generally created using the macro recorder or Visual Basic for Applications. The applications that are the most prone to this antivirus are Word Documents, Excel Spreadsheets, Power Point Presentation, and Access Database. The virus infects templates of these documents and therefore every file that the user opens gets affected. Some common macro computer viruses are Auto Exec, Auto New, Auto Open, Auto Close, and Auto Exit. The auto macros can be disabled by using the command DisableAutoMacros in any macro

that is written. Another way to remove it is by holding down the shift key while opening a document. Multi-Partite Virus It behaves in the same way as other computer viruses do. As the name signifies, they are sometimes more than one type. These are hybrids and are known as multi-partite virus. E-mail viruses An e-mail virus travels as an attachment to e-mail messages, and usually replicates itself by automatically mailing itself to dozens of people in the victim's e-mail address book. Some e-mail viruses don't even require a double-click -- they launch when you view the infected message in the preview pane of your e-mail software Denial of Service Attacks Denial of Service (DoS for short) attacks is a kind of attacks against computers connected to the Internet. DoS attacks exploit bugs in a specific operating system or vulnerabilities in TCP/IP implementation. Unlike a privacy attack, where an adversary is trying to get access to resources to which it has no authorization, the goal of DoS attacks is to keep authorized users from accessing resources. The infected computers may crash or disconnect from the Internet. In some cases they are not very harmful, because once you restart the crashed computer everything is on track again; in other cases they can be disasters, especially when you run a corporate network or ISP. Hoaxes Virus hoaxes are false reports about non-existent viruses, often claiming to do impossible things. Unfortunately some recipients occasionally believe a hoax to be a true virus warning and may take drastic action (such as shutting down their network). It is also possible that a hoax e-mail might contain an attachment that is a malicious program, such as a Trojan Horse or worm. When the reader of the hoax e-mail is an emotional state (e.g., panic about the impending virus attack mentioned in the text of the hoax e-mail), the reader may be more likely to click on the attachment and become infected. How to remove a computer virus Even for an expert, removing a computer virus can be a difficult task without the help of computer virus removal tools. Some computer viruses and other unwanted software, such as spyware, even reinstall themselves after the viruses have been detected and removed. Fortunately, by updating the computer and by using antivirus tools, you can help permanently remove unwanted software. To remove a computer virus, follow these steps: 1. Install the latest updates from Microsoft Update on the computer. 2. Update the antivirus software on the computer. Then, perform a thorough scan of the computer by using the antivirus software. 3. Download, install, and then run the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool to remove existing viruses on the computer. To download the Malicious Software Removal Tool

How to protect your computer against viruses

To protect your computer against viruses, follow these steps: 1. On the computer, turn on the firewall.

2. Keep the computer operating system up-to-date. 3. Use updated antivirus software on the computer. 4. Use updated antispyware software on the computer.