What are Computer Viruses?

When you think of a computer virus odds are you’re imagining a scene from a movie or a TV show where people are frantically typing away on a computer whole warning signs are flashing everywhere, and percentages are increasing closer and closer to 100% at which point something terrible will happen to our heroes. The truth is computer viruses are generally far less dramatic and far more insidious. In the article, we’ll have the computer virus explained. Viruses that impact a personal computer tend to want to go unnoticed for as long as possible and are there to commit subtle forms of damage to your computer and your personal information. Understanding all of the various kinds of viruses that could be impacting your computer will help you understand the countermeasures you need to keep yourself safe.

computer viruses

All viruses come from what is known as malware, or code designed to insert itself into your computer and do things you don’t want it to. The most typical viruses in your computer are what is known as adware. Adware is a virus that makes your computer pop up advertisements every so often when you visit websites. If you’ve ever been told you’re the 1,000,000th visitor to a site and have won a 100 dollar gift card, then odds are your computer has some adware on it. Dishonest companies will use adware to get more traffic to websites and also the adware can be combined with scams that will use the data you enter to get even more information out of you.

One of the more dangerous viruses you can get is a keylogger. A keylogger is a virus that will track what you are typing into your computer and create a log for a hacker to read over. The hacker will pour over what you’ve typed looking for names and passwords and for credit card numbers. If you’ve had fraudulent charges on a credit card, it is very possible you’ve been the victim of a keylogger attack and need to take steps to remove the keylogger from your computer. Anti-Keylogger software exists that can search out keylogger viruses directly and remove them. Such programs are better at finding keyloggers than traditional anti-virus programs that look for a broad range of viruses.

Ransomware is a set up that either tricks the victim into paying a person they think is on their side to free up their computer or will tell the victim that they have been hacked and must bribe the hacker to remove the software from their computer. Private citizens will generally deal with the former and have a screen telling them their computer is infected and they need to call tech support at a given number, while corporations will be extorted by thieves who know such a trick won’t work on a large company and they’ll just be honest about the blackmail they are committing.

Setting up firewalls, avoiding suspect websites, not accepting any downloads unless you know exactly where they are coming from and running anti-virus software monthly are the best ways to keep your computer virus free and avoid all the problems that come with having to remove a virus from your computer.