A virus is a type of malware — a harmful program created by hackers that can infect your computer or device in multiple ways. They can be incredibly difficult to get rid of and they can spread from device to device. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your devices and we have some tips about how to remove a virus.
How does a computer virus work? A virus is written by programmers to attach, overwrite, or otherwise replace another program on your computer in order to reproduce itself without your knowledge.
A virus can cause a number of problems on your infected device. It may quickly use all your computer's available memory — slowing down your system or bringing it to a halt. Viruses can damage data, destroy files, format hard drives, or make disks unreadable. A virus can enter your computer as an email attachment, in a downloaded file, or hidden on a zip drive or CD. It's usually not obvious that a virus is present on a website, in an email or elsewhere.
If you're experiencing any of these problems, your computer may have a virus:
There are some precautions you can take to keep your devices safe:
There are some precautions you can take to keep your devices safe. If you think your device is infected, your first step is to run a complete scan using your antivirus program.
If you are using Security by McAfee, there's no need to do anything extra. The program runs continuously and automatically quarantines any detected threats.
If your antivirus program is unable to remove the virus, these are your next steps:
Now that you know what a computer virus is, you may be surprised to learn that there are many different types of computer viruses out there and each of them affect your machine differently. Below are a few of the different types of computer viruses that may infect your computer:
File infector viruses are some of the most common computer viruses. They infect executable files on your device, and once the file runs, the virus will rewrite the files’ code to perform an action which may or may not be malicious. These types of viruses can spread to other programs on your computer and should be removed as quickly as possible.
Boot sector viruses are typically spread through physical means such as flash drives, but they can also be spread through email. They operate by infecting your computer's Master Boot Record and are only able to infect your machine if they are used to boot up your operating system. Luckily, these viruses are not as prevalent as they used to be, but because they can be extremely destructive and hard to remove, a preventative antivirus software is recommended to ensure your machine does not contract this virus.
Browser hijackers take control of your web browser to spy on your browsing or to send you to sites you may not be trying to visit. The hacker does this to boost ad revenue for the site. Additionally, these viruses can steal any personal information you enter into a site if they are spying on you, so if your browser starts to exhibit strange behavior such as long load times or excessive pop-ups, we highly recommend you scan your device for viruses. They typically find their way to your computer through an infected browser extension and can be removed by running your antivirus software.
Polymorphic computer viruses are some of the most complex viruses your computer can become infected with. As their name would imply, they are able to alter their code, making them hard to detect and remove. They are a form of an encrypted virus and use different encryption keys every time they change their underlying code. These types of computer viruses are spread through a wide variety of media including spam, infected files, or malware. A sophisticated antivirus software or IT professional are typically required to remove this type of virus.
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