Geek

Things to Know about Computer Viruses and How to Fight Them

Written by Jayvee Fernandez

On a daily basis, you will probably receive several dozen spam emails, as well as plenty of unwanted popups, advertising things like the best antivirus 2016 protection and the latest technology in spyware. This can be incredibly annoying and it may even make you lose faith in the effectiveness of these programs. After all, they can’t all be the best, can they? The reality is that there is so much competition between the developers of antivirus programs that some have to turn to exploiting the weaknesses of your computer to advertise their products.

The Internet is so efficient and so large, and it is used by billions of people. This also means that there are thousands, if not millions, of virus developers out there and they are getting increasingly good at what they do. It can take just a few minutes for a virus to ‘go viral’ and spin around the entire globe. They affect thousands of unprepared and unprotected users, as well as businesses, and they often do this simultaneously and instantly. This is why all PC users, domestic and commercial alike, should be committed to having excellent antivirus protection.

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Just What Is a Computer Virus?
In order for something to be classed as a computer virus, the program has to be able to get triggered following a specific event, and it should be able to replicate itself. There are basically three types of ‘maliceware’, as they are known, programs. They have all been designed to steal, delete or damage information, damage or destroy hardware on a computer and/or hijack a computer. The three types of maliceware that exist are Worms, Trojans and Viruses. A good antivirus program will protect your computer from all three of these threats.

What Is an Antivirus Scanner for?
There are two approaches that antivirus programs use in order to identify a threat on a computer:

1. Signature detection.
Through this method, the program will scan your computer, including its storage devices and drivers, in order to find files that have a code contained in them that is known to be a virus.

2. Activity.
Through this method, all the activity on your computer will be monitored to see if there are any suspicious behaviors. This includes changes to system folders or files, as well as internet connections that you did not authorize.

In order for signature detection to work properly, a virus scanner needs to have a copy of a certain virus, at which point they can essentially reverse-engineer it, allowing the scanner to recognize the code. This is why it is so important to always keep your antivirus software up to date, as new viruses are created on an almost daily basis. If your scanner doesn’t recognize a virus because it hasn’t been update, it won’t be able to fight it either.

Generally speaking, antivirus programs use both computer activity and signature detection in order to make sure a computer is properly protected from threats.

About the author

Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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