Picture this scenario. You are comfortable working on your system to complete an important task, and suddenly, your device started misbehaving and becomes unresponsive and sluggish. If you are wondering that – “Have my computer infected with a virus?” then you are absolutely correct.
In this post, we would discuss what a computer virus is, how it is spread, and five sure signs that indicate the infection of the computer virus.
What is a Computer Virus?
Almost the whole world is now familiar with the term ‘virus’. A computer virus is pretty similar to a biological virus. A biological virus spreads from one person to another person and can replicate itself inside the host body. Similarly, a computer virus can spread from computer to computer and multiply itself after infiltrating a device.
A computer virus is a malicious code that infects legitimate programs and files, gets attached to them, and spread from device to device. It has the ability to cause severe destruction in the system by corrupting the data and applications. Further, it can change the way the device operates by slowing down the system and cause hindrances in loading the necessary Windows processes and apps.
How does a Virus Works?
At first, the virus gets attached to a legitimate application and spread to different systems through various mediums like USB drives. After getting into the system through an infected program, the virus would wait for the execution of the infected application. Once the computer user launches the infected app, the malicious codes inside the application get activated, and the virus starts doing its work. Soon after the execution, the virus starts multiplying itself and attach to the files and apps of the system.
Apart from infecting the host device, a virus can create havoc in all other devices connected to the same network. It can perform many illicit tasks such as stealing sensitive data like passwords & banking details, corrupt important files, store keystrokes, and more. Some devastating virus can even permanently damage the device’s hard disk.
How does a Computer Virus Spread?
To infect more and more devices, a computer virus requires a medium to spread itself. Here are the top ways a computer virus spread from device to device:
- Traditionally, in the pre-internet times, the most common way for a virus to spread was through Floppy Disk. The computer users used to unintentionally or intentionally copy the infected applications on Floppy disks. When that disk was attached to other computers, the virus also used to get entry. However, the virus does not get activated until the infected program is executed.
- With time the source of the virus spread changed from Floppy to other sharing mediums like CDs, DVDs, USB drives, and more.
- In modern times the viruses are widely distributed through internet websites. To spread viruses, the cyber attackers create fake websites that contain legitimate programs infected with a virus. Users unknown about the infection download the applications, thinking of them as legit. Torrents are very popular among infiltrators to spread viruses.
- Emails are another popular medium used by cybercriminals to circulate viruses. Emails with catchy subject lines and pictures are sent with the infected attachments so that users get attracted and download them easily.
5 Signs that Indicates the Presence of Virus
When a harmful biological virus infects a human body, the body shows some abnormal symptoms to indicate the infection. Likewise, when a computer virus infects your system, it will start misbehaving and show some signs confirming the infection. Here are the top 5 indications of virus infection in a computer system.
1. Computer becomes Sluggish
The most typical indication of a virus attack is a slow computer. If your system suddenly becomes sluggish and applications started taking a long time to load, then it might be because viruses are using most of your system RAM, making other applications struggle to run. You can run the Task Manager to check which applications or processes are eating system resources.
2. Internet Usage Abnormally Increases
When a virus enters a system, the internet usage of that system might abnormally increase as viruses might use the network to spread themselves. You can check which app or process is using the internet from the Task Manager.
3. Computer Crashes Frequently
Some deadly viruses can highly damage your device’s hard disk that would cause the computer to crash frequently. Users might regularly experience the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) error.
4. All Files Turned into Shortcut
While transferring data from a Pendrive or other external drives, if you notice that all files and documents have turned into a shortcut, it might be because of a Shortcut virus. This generally happens when users do not scan the external drives with an antivirus program.
5. Unknown App icons Show on your Desktop
After a virus attack, icons of unfamiliar applications would appear on the desktop screen. Those icons might be of malicious programs. Such programs generally get installed through bundled software.
How to stay protected from Viruses?
Viruses can be dangerous and can disturb your workflow by creating havoc in the system. To keep your system protected from viruses, it is essential to follow preventive measures.
Here are the tips to keep viruses away from the computer:
- Always keep yourself updated with the latest happenings in the cyberworld and new virus infections through cybersecurity blogs like viruspup.com and others.
- Keep your system equipped with a robust anti-malware program like MalwareFox.
- When transferring files from external sources, never forget to thoroughly scan them before proceeding.
- Never download the attachments of the emails sent by an unknown sender.
- Keep your system and applications updated with the latest version.
- Never visit the insecure and untrustworthy sites in anticipation of getting free software and games.
- Torrents are a popular medium of virus spreading. Never visit torrent sites for illegal downloading.