Computer viruses have always been an issue to deal with since computers came into existence. It is said that the first computer virus was created back in 1971, and it was called the “Creeper Program”. It was more of an experiment to see if a self-replicating program could exist.
Once it was concluded that this could be done, the existence of computer viruses was made possible. Computer viruses are dangerous, period, because of the damage they can cause to your computer systems and overall network.
Your best line of defense is by being proactive and keeping your computers protected. That’s what we’re going to discuss in this article, as well as point out the various dangers of computer viruses.
Common Ways To Get a Computer Virus
Many people unknowingly download viruses from suspicious websites or via emails through a process called Phishing.
If you receive an email from someone you don’t recognize with an attachment, make sure not to click on anything you’re not sure about. And if you’re really curious, then do some research to see if what you’re receiving is legit. If you can’t confirm the email is safe, then delete it.
Additionally, opening spam messages can also lead to getting infected. Unless you’re expecting emails from a certain spammer, it’s fair game to delete all spam messages that come to you. You probably won’t see most spam messages because most email services recognize spam and automatically throw it into the spam or junk folder.
As far as websites, I recommend taking a similar approach.
If a website looks unfamiliar, or something seems off, it’s best not to interact with it all, if not very little. One of the dead giveaways a website may not be safe is it’s missing the security lock to the left of the URL.
Also, look for the “https” preceding the web address. The “s” stands for Security to indicate that it’s a secure website to visit.
You should also be careful when downloading free software by making sure that you download only official versions and updates in order to keep your devices safe from any malicious code or links inside the file or program.
What Makes Computer Viruses Dangerous?
We’ve already established that computer viruses are dangerous and can cause a lot of damage to your computer. But let’s break this down a bit to explain how they operate and how they can create havoc for your computer systems.
Once your computer is infected, the computer virus takes control of your system and alters your files. The codes in a virus are solely designed to cause damage by deleting data and corrupting systems.
A virus can also be used for identity theft. It can redirect a user to sites that aren’t safe and monitor that user’s activity on the Internet, allowing for information about that user to be collected without their knowledge.
What’s also dangerous is that viruses spread from one computer to another, as long as they’re connected to the same network and are sharing some type of files and folders. That’s how the virus gets around, via files and folders shared by computers.
Here’s how it works.
Computer viruses attach themselves to files or applications in a user’s system. When this file is executed (opened), the virus begins replicating itself and corrupting other files and programs, unbeknownst to the user. They’ll just realize one day that their computer system isn’t working properly and not know why.
In more serious cases, this can lead to complete system failure, where your computer is 100 percent non-responsive, preventing you from doing anything at all with it.
So you always want to be careful not to get your system infected with a virus.
How To Protect Yourself from Viruses
There are a few things you can do to safeguard your device from threats like viruses and malicious software.
First, install reliable antivirus software on your computers that use the internet.
I know Microsft Windows for instance comes equipped with a native security application, known as Windows Security, and it does a pretty decent job.
However, I still encourage users to use a 3rd party antivirus program to keep their systems safe. These companies specialize in cybersecurity and do a better job in my opinion at protecting your computer than Windows Security would.
This will help identify any potential threats before they cause damage. Being proactive, rather than reactive. The ones I’d recommend are Norton, McAfee, and Bitdefender.
In addition to installing a 3rd party antivirus application, it’s a good idea to set up automatic updates for your operating system so it can keep up with the latest security patches. This will help to combat a virus infection.
Secondly, be careful about where you download files from online.
If a website seems untrustworthy or suspicious-looking, don’t click on any links or download anything from it! The same goes for emails. Don’t click on anything in an email you don’t think you can trust. Spammers and hackers use emails heavily as their bait to lure you onto a website where they can capture information from you and get your computer infected.
This process, as I’ve mentioned before is called Phishing, and it’s done every day.
If you happen to be a victim of a virus attack, there are things that you can do to “heal” your computer. One of my first go-to for remedying a computer that is infected with a computer virus or other malware is to download Malwarebytes.
This application does a pretty thorough job of getting rid of viruses and malware from your computer that most other antivirus applications simply cannot do. I’ve used them for years and have been very satisfied with the results.
However, in extreme cases where your computer is pretty bad, and beyond repair, then your best bet would be to wipe your system clean and re-install the Operating System. Although this can be a real pain and does require a tech expert to do, it’s probably the most effective way to completely rid your computer of a virus.
The video below provides some tips on how to protect your computer from viruses.
Computer viruses are dangerous and can do serious harm to your computer.
As long as you have access to the Internet, you will be exposed to potentially getting infected with a computer virus. The two most common ways are via the Internet and email. Don’t visit or interact with unsafe-looking websites, and don’t open emails from senders you don’t recognize. If you abide by those guidelines, you will prevent over 90% of possible infections
Remember that viruses spread from computer to computer by attaching themselves to files on each computer. So if your computer is not being protected by a 3rd party antivirus software, you do run the risk of making your computer and entire network susceptible to a potential virus attack.
Malwarebytes is a good application to use if you ever become a victim of a virus or malware attack. However, if your computer has been compromised beyond repair, then your best bet is to get the hard drive of your computer completely wiped clean and do a fresh re-install of the Operating System.
Although Malwarebytes does a great job in ridding an infected computer of viruses and other malware, a clean wipe of the hard is the best way to completely rid your computer of a virus.