Different Types of Computer Viruses & Their Effects

Amora R Jelo

Computer Viruses have been around for quite a while now, with almost all being spread through the internet or physical drives. The main objective of these viruses is pretty well known. Sneaking into the system, stealing, and destroying victims’ personal data are a few of the destructive traits they possess. […]

Computer Viruses have been around for quite a while now, with almost all being spread through the internet or physical drives. The main objective of these viruses is pretty well known. Sneaking into the system, stealing, and destroying victims’ personal data are a few of the destructive traits they possess.

Many users worldwide have been victimized by virus attacks, and there’s a possibility you might be next.It will probably help if you are well informed about its types and effects. But first, what is a computer virus?

What is a computer virus?

Just like biological viruses, computer viruses are programs that are designed to be transmitted from one computer to another through different mediums like files or documents. They infect your computer system and the programs in it, damaging the hard drive, which directly degrades your PC’s general performance.

Once your system software is corrupted with a malicious code, the sensitive pieces of information stored in your PC are in serious danger. You shouldn’t take it lightly when you suspect your device to contain viruses, as they can help cyber thieves steal your password and breach vital banking accounts and social media accounts.

How does a computer virus spread?

Computer viruses can be spread in many ways. Most of which are disguised as legitimate files and some through infected software. Some general means they transfer are listed below:

  • Downloading unknown folders and software. Most computer viruses transmit through files you download that seem legitimate.
  • Connecting infectious drives into the PC. When you insert any unknown disks or drives in your computer, it will attack your device if the physical device was previously contaminated with ransomware.
  • Clicking on strange emails and links. Cybercriminals send fake emails disguising as real people, and when you open them or click on links attached within, your PC catches the virus.
  • Not updating your OS. Latest operating system updates might offer better security, so ignoring the notification for them might lead you to suffer a malware attack.
  • Pirating. When you download a pirated software or movie, often your computer will be infected with a virus since they are made available illegally and probably uploaded by cybercriminals.

What are the different types of Computer Viruses?

As the technological world’s advancement keeps improving, cybercriminals are becoming more capable of creating powerful viruses.[i]Although millions of computer viruses have been developed until now, here are some general types of them:

  • Multipartite Virus: Infecting a computer in multiple ways, the multipartite virus can contaminate and corrupt your PC’s programming files and boot sector. They affect the hard disk by disguising themselves as files in the memory and later spread over system software.

As its name suggests, this virus has the ability to become more problematic than traditional viruses since it can transfer in multiple ways.

  • File-infecting Virus: This virus corrupts the original codes of an executable file and then overwrites them with infected ones, making the file unusable. File infectors can contaminate many operating systems, including Unix, Windows, and Macintosh. A more severe type of this virus can entirely rewrite the hard drive of your PC.
  • Boot Sector Virus: Boot Sector Virus is one of the most common computer viruses that spread in your PC through a memory system, infecting any accessible file after retrieving the system’s floppy disk. Like its name, this virus mainly affects the boot sector of your computer’s hard drive, where the most crucial system information is stored.
  • Direct Action Virus: When you install an infected .exe or .com file, where Direct Action usually are attached, the virus waits for you to open or start that file and then contaminate your PC. These viruses replicate files and folders by changing their location constantly and shifting their path from one directory to another after being executed. It mostly takes action when you are rebooting your PC.
  • Memory Resident Virus: Once you run the infected program or file, the memory resident virus gets activated. It will be located in your computer’s memory, even when you are not using its host program.

This virus replicates itself into the memory system so that it can be executed without the main application. Considered one of the worst computer viruses, it can completely infect the system files by making them inaccessible. Weak antiviruses cannot defend your PC from this hazardous malware.

  • Macro Virus: This virus is created with a similar macro language which is used for writing programs and software, including Microsoft Word and Excel. Macro Virus can infect any OS because instead of attacking the operating system, it spreads into the system applications and executable folders, corrupting them thoroughly. It mainly affects data files such as spreadsheets and documents by implanting malicious codes in the same macro coding language.
  • Overwrite Virus: Without changing the file size, Overwrite Virus entirely deletes all the original documents and data of the programs it infects and then replaces them with puzzling data. This is one of the deadliest ones out there, as we can only get rid of it by sacrificing our own infected file or software, which very well could be one of your valuable information.
  • Browser Hijacker: Browser Hijacker is an adware that replaces your search engine or home page with its own for the purpose of displaying unsubscribed advertisements. It modifies your browser settings without asking for permission and then floods your web with particular sites, increasing that page’s advertisement revenue. Some of these viruses can also be spyware, hijacking into your personal information like banking passwords, social media accounts, privatised email details, and more.
  • Polymorphic Virus: These viruses avoid detection by modifying themselves, encrypting infected files’ codes, and using a new one for another transmission. Polymorphic Virus reflects a complex version of File Infector, which traditional antiviruses cannot identify. Their mutation engine helps them regenerate decryption routines and complicate the identification process for any weaker security systems.

What are the effects of Computer Viruses?

With all the impacts being destructive and corruptive, viruses are the worst enemy of a strong computer system. Some of their effects are as follows:

  • Slows down the Operating System
  • Freezes your computer screen often
  • Sends emails to people without your permission
  • Identity theft and private data breach
  • Changes your account passwords
  • Makes unknown start-up programs come up often when opening your PC
  • Attacks system software and makes files inaccessible

In case any of these viruses attack your PC, you must remain prepared for them. A strong antivirus would be the best solution.

Norton Antivirus assures your computer system’s finest protection using advanced technology to power the security software’s intelligent engine. It is the Top Antivirus in India, trusted by millions of users for shielding their PC from foreign spyware and viruses. It detects and prevents any malicious codes or files from infecting your device. Consider this Antivirus for more secured protection and also apply other safety measures to remain afar from these computer viruses.

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