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31
May
2019
Back to the Basics - What is a Computer Virus

Back to the Basics - What is a Computer Virus

Understanding Computer Viruses

A computer virus is a type of malicious code or program written to alter the way a computer operates and is designed to spread from one computer to another. After a virus has attached itself to a program, file, or document the virus will lie dormant on your system until the code is executed, which occurs once you’ve run the infected program. In other words, you could have a virus on your computer for any given length of time without showing any signs or symptoms. Once that virus infects your computer, it can also spread to other computers on the same network. The virus may steal password data, log keystrokes, corrupt files, spam email contacts, or take over your machine entirely. In some instances, the virus could delete your data.

Computer viruses spread in many ways, with some more common transfer methods being email, file downloads from the internet, and social media scam links. Social media scams are becoming increasingly common, with malicious links disguised as a video or image or someone you know or could be another form of shareable content that appears to be innocent. Smartphones and other connected devices are also susceptible to viruses as well, which are often transferred when a malicious app downloaded.

How can you protect yourself from a computer virus?

  • Exercise caution when surfing the web, downloading files and opening links attachments. Do not open email attachments you’re not expecting.
  • Only download files or programs from websites you trust. If you are unsure if a website is safe, use a search engine to research the website and see if anyone else has reported anything malicious or unusual following the download. Read security warnings, license agreements, and privacy statements with any software you consider downloading.
  • Be wary of free music and video file-sharing programs. Do not click on pop-up ads.
  • Lastly, make sure you are running a trusted anti-virus program and keeping it updated with the latest virus definitions. Anti-virus programs will continually perform sweeps looking for known virus files and warn of websites that have been known for distributing files with viruses.

Check out the navitend blog site for more tips and feel free to reach out to Patrice at 973.448.0070 ext 312.

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