What is a computer Virus

Over the years, computer viruses have been called many things: malware, bloatware, spamware, any variant of “ware” and you guessed it, it’s flagged as a virus. Bottom line, a computer virus, is like the flu virus humans experience. It is designed to spread from person to person (or computer to computer) and can replicate itself.

blood pressure monitor

The easy way to think about a computer virus is that it is simply code which is written to change or alter the way an operating system and computer operates. Also, it is designed to spread across a network (or the internet) to infect other machines and replicate that code onto those machines so they are also infected with the same virus.

How do you get infected?

There are many common ways a computer can get infected. Some obvious, some not sure clear – at the end of the day, the overall objective for a computer virus is to infect your system and have the code replicate to multiple machines. One common way of being infected is by opening a malicious email. In most instances, anti-virus protection can help resolve this; however, if the email is coming from a legitimate contact who may have been hijacked, the best defense is to contact the sender and ask if they meant to send the email PRIOR to opening any attachments. It is also important to note that programs online that are “free of download” can often be infected with viruses and plague your system.

What exactly can a virus do?

First and foremost, its important to know that while a computer virus may be on your machine, there may not be any evident symptoms. Regardless if that’s the case, its very important that the virus be removed by a professional and we are here to assist. In most situations, once a virus has attached itself to a program or a file within your system, the virus may lie dormant until it becomes activated and the device or source of the virus activates its code. Once activated, it is difficult to determine what that specific virus will do without knowing its variant. For instance, a key-logger will monitor, record, and then send out to the creator every key-stroke you have made on the machine. This can include bank passwords, email credentials or even personal information such as social security numbers, birthdates, etc.

laptop with computer code

How can I stay protected?

There are several ways an end user can stay protected but first and foremost is to have a good, legitimate, certified anti-virus running on your system. Second, and most important is proper training on how to identify malicious websites, emails, and programs that you may be exposed to in your general course of computer usage. At RSM Computers, we pride ourselves on being able to help you detect and remove viruses you may be infected with. Furthermore, we also help set up a consistent and redundant backup, in the event you are infected with a virus, we can successfully restore your computer from a previous backup and show you how to protect yourself from future infections.

Rancho Santa Margarita Computer Repair