Computer viruses are one of the most destructive threats of the computer world. Just like a real biological virus, a computer virus can attach itself to a computer and copy itself. Viruses can be distinguished from malware, adware, or spyware because of their replicating abilities, and should not be referred to these other terms. Viruses are destructive because of the various harmful effects that it can bring to your computer and its files. Data located inside a user’s computer can become corrupted or inaccessible, rendering potentially valuable files useless. Worse, a virus may entirely wipe the data inside the computer, all its installed programs, files saved and folders created. Another harmful effect it can perform is to spread itself like a real virus, and infect other computers. The performance of the computer can also become slower, or its applications become inaccessible for use. It is also usual to see a virus-infested computer to crash every now and then, restarting itself much to the annoyance of its user.
A virus is actually a computer program itself. Viruses are programs that needed to be executed and once activated, would be able to write its own code to the memory of the personal computer. Most of the time, viruses are able to consolidate themselves to legit programs in the form of an executable file, which makes them even more dangerous as a user make mistake a virus for a valid file and unknowingly activate the virus program. Among the types of media that it can attach itself are binary executable files such as .exe and com files, specific auto-run script files, word documents, spreadsheets, and database files. Viruses also take up memory because of its nature as a program, and thus take up space that is best utilized for other more important programs.
Viruses can spread through the use of external memory that is plugged into one’s computer, or through the access of the internet. These programs can make it look like harmless files like images or videos. To combat this dangerous threat, one must install into their own personal computer an anti-virus program that seeks these potentially harmful elements which afterwards enables the user to remove the viruses. A good anti-virus program should be able to identify the existing viruses that has spread in one’s PC, even the well-hidden ones, and is able to update itself with the latest virus definitions in the World Wide Web. Depending on one’s usage of the computer, anti-virus programs can come in free or with a cost. Free anti-virus programs have limited capabilities and usually only has a time period for its trial and use. Priced anti-virus programs, on the other hand, usually have better or have added features and more comprehensive in their performance as a threat detector, and are usually better supported by their software developers.
The threat of these computer viruses arriving in one’s computer will always exist. With that in mind, one has to always be ready to guard his/her computer from these threats and ensure the security and smooth performance of one’s computer.