This webblog will tell and story about my software development and anything related to computer security.

What is a computer virus?

by Kamil Alta | Monday, January 05, 2009 in |

To put it simply, a computer virus is just a small computer program that can replicate itself and place itself on a computer without the computer user knowing it. They typically come attached to other files. These files are typically executable files with a (.exe) file extension. People often use the term virus to mistakenly label other troublesome programs that are really malware or adware. There is a difference. Most malware and adware do not replicate themselves and therefore are not technically considered viruses. However, these days, malware is a far more common type of infection. Other things that can infect a computer but aren't really viruses are things like computer worms and Trojan horses.
Trojan horses are very common these days. As their name implies, they often sneak into a person's computer because they come packaged as a useful program like a screensaver or something. Then, once they are installed on the computer, they open up ports (like a secret door to the internet) on your computer and allow other types of infections to sneak in. These other infections come in totally unannounced. You won't realize they are there until your antivirus program happens to detect them. By then, it is possible that their intended damage has already occurred.
This is why it is important to have a firewall on your computer. The firewall increases the computer's security by closing all of these doors and locking them. The firewall only allows doors to open that are used by common programs like web browsers and email. For another port (door) to be opened, the firewall program usually asks for permission from the computer user. That's why you get the messages popping up in the lower right hand corner of your computer asking if it is okay for something to happen.
Another type of infection is the computer worm. Computer worms are like viruses except they do not come attached to any other files. These worms can move from computer to computer across a network. They move from computer to computer by going through open ports. This is the biggest benefit of having a firewall to keep those ports closed and locked. The internet is one giant network. So, just by being connected to the internet, your computer is exposed to this type of infection.
Adware is another type of program all together. Typically, these program come bundled with other software as well. When downloading some music sharing software, if you read all the fine print you would see that the reason that software is free is because it comes bundled with an adware program. The adware program will make pop ups come up on your computer. It might also modify your internet browser so that your search results are influenced in some way that benefits the author of the program.
I can honestly say from experience that you can guarantee getting an infection by using your Windows based computer to browse the internet regularly if you do not have an adequate firewall on your computer. The firewall is far more important than your antivirus software itself. This is one of the most misunderstood computer security issues among the general public.

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous on January 24, 2009 at 8:15 AM

    Do you still have the latest Stand Alone Portable anti virus program please

     
  2. alternator on February 9, 2009 at 1:19 AM

    Sorry for inconvenience, link is fixed now. Get it at www.data0.net.

     
  3. Anonymous on April 22, 2009 at 1:16 AM

    Protect your PC.
    Are you searching for antispyware at an affordable price? Then look no further. I have the perfect solution for you. I have found a scan that works as well as Norton and other scans that are more expensive. If you are interested in learning more then you can go to http://www.Search-and-destroy.com and see for yourself what the antispyware solution from Search-and-destroy has to offer. I’m sure that you will be very happy with Search-and-destroy Antispyware because I was and I have tried many different types of scans in the past. It’s a wonderful solution to that will help protect your PC.

     
  4. Jacob on September 30, 2009 at 10:24 PM

    Is it true if we do not updated an antivirus software, then it will also become an virus? If true then how we keep safe those standalone system that have not an internet connection. Adware Blockers

     



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