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What is a Computer Virus?

What is a Computer Virus?

A computer virus is a type of malware that can infect a computer and spread to other devices. A computer virus is designed very similarly to a biological virus; it infects a system, replicates itself, causes harm, and spreads to other parts.

A virus is a catch-all term used for any malicious software. Computer viruses are cyber threats designed to cause harm, disruption, or gain unauthorized access to data. They do this by replicating themselves and spreading from one device to another over the internet or other networks. The internet is a scary place. With each passing minute, four companies fall prey to ransomware attacks bringing the daily numbers of malware detection to 560,000.

How Do Computer Viruses Work?

Viruses are programmed to provide harm. The intent of a virus depends on its coding. Viruses typically contain code that causes the infected device to perform certain actions, like displaying messages on the screen, deleting files from hard drives, reformatting disks, or encrypting data so it cannot be accessed until a ransom is paid.

A computer virus will typically attach itself to another program or file and then insert its own code into the host program. That way, the virus executes its code whenever an unsuspecting user runs the program. They may also be spread when the infected file is shared with a user over a network. Some viruses may cause network traffic and block internet activity.

A computer virus can be a simple prank by a known individual or a structured well- planned attack with malevolent intent.

Symptoms Of A Computer Virus

Many signs point toward an infected computer. Some of these signs include

  • Your computer shows slower performance without reason.
  • Your computer shows strange or obscene messages, popup windows, ads, videos, or sounds.
  • The computer consists of unknown files and programs that were not there before.
  • Unusual emails sent to your contact list.
  • You access a file but find it corrupted.
  • Changes in the web browser, including the home page.
  • Unexplained loss of data, files, and programs.
  • The hard drive name has been modified.
  • Changed passwords without your knowledge.
  • The system memory has decreased.
  • The computer boots differently.
  • Hard drives have become inaccessible.
  • The computer is experiencing frequent crashes.

How Are Computer Viruses Removed?

Computer viruses mostly go unnoticed. If you do not have anti-virus softwares installed on your computer, you may not even notice one. However, if you are experiencing any of the previously mentioned signs, it might be time for a virus check. Do not panic. And certainly, do not wipe out your entire data. Stay calm and execute the following mentioned steps.


The first thing to do would be to use anti-virus software. This is the most common and easy way. If you do not have it already installed, now is the time. However, some clever, pernicious attackers may disable the anti-virus software or block you from using it. In this case, you may need to install the software through a flash drive or select an option to confirm that you want the software to handle the malware.

Bitdefender Antivirus User Interface

However, contrary to popular belief, having two software will not result in better protection but take up a large percentage of your PC’s processing power, causing your computer to slow down and possibly crash.

Remove Newly Installed Programs

There is a slight possibility that the virus may reside in a recently installed program. That is if you are lucky. Remove these programs along with any newly installed web extensions.

Disable Your Internet Connection

Viruses latch onto things, and there is a possibility that the virus may use the internet connection to spread out further. It is a good idea to disable your internet connection now and stop the virus in its tracks.

Use Safe Mode.

It is important to protect your computer while you root out the virus. For this purpose, you may need to reboot the computer in Safe Mode. To do this, just shut off your computer and turn it on.

Press F8 to access the “Advanced boot options” menu when the screen comes alive. You will see some options while booting. Select ‘Safe Mode with Networking and do not connect to the internet.

Examples Of Computer Viruses

There are millions of viruses spreading out, causing harm. However, only a number of them have come to be widely known. Some examples of these ‘popular viruses’  include

  • Worm
  • SQL Slammer
  • MyDoom
  • Storm Worm
  • CryptoLocker
  • Tinba
  • Shlayer
  • Stuxnet.

Computer Virus Protection

In this day and age, technology is our world. It is our responsibility to keep it safe from malicious intent. And the easiest way to get rid of viruses is to avoid them altogether. The following are some practices that allow for virus prevention:

Daily Scans

Computer viruses keep on evolving. To be on the safe side, it is vital to carry out daily scans with anti-virus and anti-malware software. If you find any malicious files and folders in your system, be sure to “quarantine” (Does not bring good memories, we know) them before they spread and invade your privacy. 

Bitdefender Performing a Full System Scan

Also, scan any documents, such as Word or Excel, before you use them. Scan any file that you download from the internet.

Perform Regular Updates

Viruses can detect vulnerable patches and latch on to them. Be sure to keep up with your updates and keep your system fully patched.

Back-Up Files

No one wants to lose any critical data. Make sure to keep backups of any important files or documents and store them on a different disk. This will protect you in case your data gets lost or disrupted, or your system gets damaged.

Zero Trust Edge (ZTE)

Preceding the pandemic, working from home has become the new normal. The Internet is open to all; therefore, it is extremely difficult to distinguish users with malicious intent; you can only take precautions from your side to not be a victim of computer viruses. But now, with Zero Trust Edge, you can connect with only authenticated users.

his is groundbreaking and allows users to create and secure all the cloud-based networks from a single dashboard. Security professions are now moving towards Zero Trust Edge approaches for a secure remote workforce. ZTE serves to solve the new-age challenges regarding threats and security.


Computer viruses are cyber threats that attach themselves to computers and insert their code. They spread by replicating and infecting other programs. Computer viruses exist in many forms. A virus should be taken seriously in any form, as it can sometimes lead to serious problems.

There are many signs that point out a computer virus that you need to be on the lookout for. If any of these signs exist, you must take the necessary steps to root out the malicious virus. It is best to take out precautionary steps even if the symptoms do not exist. As the common saying goes: It is better to be safe than sorry.

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