Interview with a virus - The different types
A Guide to understanding the different types of virus'
A virus is a malicious piece of code designed exclusively to disrupt or damage your computer and data.
A firewall will not protect against viruses, a virus attack is a different type of threat.
It is important that you run good anti-virus software and keep it up to date with the
latest virus updates. The rapid spread of new viruses make the need to regularly upgrade
your anti-virus software with the latest upgrades from the manufacturer even more critical.
Types of Viruses:
There are a number of different types of viruses. Understanding how they typically
spread, and what kind of damage they can do is an important part of understanding
how to protect yourself from them.
This type of virus works by attaching itself to a program file,
and is activated when you launch that program. The virus then takes
control of your computer, attaches itself to another program file,
and the cycle continues.
Every virus is a piece of program code, or a specific sequence of data.
This sequence is known as a signature. Virus-scanning software is
programmed to look for these signatures. In an encrypted virus this
signature is scrambled, making it difficult for virus scanning software to detect.
As with the encrypted virus, creators of polymorphic viruses encrypt
the virus' signature. What makes this type of virus so difficult to
detect, however, is that the encryption routine used to de-scramble
the encryption is also encrypted.
"Macro viruses" are like mini-programs that actually run inside of
other programs. Programs like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel
have the ability to run scripts, called macros, that automate tasks
within the program. Macro viruses are scripts that are written only to do damage.
They are easy to write and because so many people use the programs they affect, they spread very quickly.
Like the legendary Trojan Horse of Greek mythology, this type of virus is actually a
destructive program disguised as a benign program, like a screensaver for example.
It does its damage when it is executed, typically stealing passwords or spreading viruses.
Unlike a true virus, which needs users and usually their email to spread from computer
to computer, a worm is self-propagating. Because of this, a worm can spread to hundreds
of thousands of computers in an incredibly short time, doing substantial damage as it does.
Not only can a worm attach itself to every email address in your Microsoft Outlook address
book, it can also stick to certain types of files on your computer which, when opened,
will start the whole process again.
The combination of firewall and antivirus software will provide you with the
protection you need when you are connected to the Internet.
Many software packages are available in bundles that offer both a
firewall and antivirus protection, such as Norton Internet Security or PC-Cillin IS (internet security). These packages will often include other software as well,
such as email spam protection or parental control.
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