Computer Viruses, Types, Potential Damage, Preventative Measures

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What is a computer virus? 

It is a program designed to replicate itself into other files or programs stored on your device. Viruses can cause programs to opperate incorrectly or corrupt a computer's momory. 

Virus types

There are six broad catagories that viruses fall under: 

  1. Boot Sector Virus - targets the boot sector of a hard drive and crucially effects the boot proccess.
  2. File Infection Virus - coded viruses that attach themselves to .exe files; compressed files such as zip or drive files.
  3. Multipartite Virus - cross between a file virus and a boot sector virus.
  4. Network Virus - uniquely created to quickly spread throughout the local area network and generally across the Internet as well. Typically moves within shared resources like drives and folders.
  5. Macro Virus - infects program files that use macros in the program itself, such as word processors. 
  6. E-mail Virus - generally this is a macro virus which multiplies by sending itself to other contacts in your address book, in hopes they'll activate the virus as well.

Virus Prevention

Today, many "worm" viruses travel the internet actively seeking vulnerable computers. This means that your computer can become infected just by connecting to the internet. Although new viruses are being created all the time, there are some steps that you can take to protect your computer. 

Your most important defense is installing and regularly updating virus protection software. Although anti-virus software is criticial, it is no longer enough to provide maximum protection alone. You should also run operating system updates regularly. 

  • Windows users can install critical updates by opening the Control Panel, clicking System and Security and finally Windows Update. 
  • Macintosh users can install updates by clicking on the Apple menu and choosing Software Update.

Other Tips on Virus Prevention

  • Avoid opening emails with attachments if the message is suspicious, even if they are from a friend or known acquaintance.
  • Do not download files from strangers.
  • Be cautious when downloading files from the Internet.
  • Avoid subscribing to e-mails from groups or informational websites. These e-mails are considered spam
  • SalukiTech also recommends using "Microsoft Security Essentials" to guard against viruses, spyware, and other bad software.

Software Downloads

For additional software or information, view our Software Tools and Preventative Information page

What you can do if you have a virus

The type of virus you have or the method it used to infect your computer is not as important as removing it and preventing further infection. 

To remove the virus yourself, download and run the Malwarebytes software mentioned above. 

If you believe your computer has contracted a virus and you are unable to remove it, contact the SalukiTech helpdesk at (618) 453-5155 or bring your device to Morris Library, Room 161A. We are happy to assist you.