Virus versus Computer Antivirus
Explaining the battle between a computer virus and a computer antivirus
What is a computer virus?
A computer virus is a program or piece of malicious code which finds its way on to your computer without your knowledge. Unlike the biological namesake all computer viruses are man-made.
Why do we have computer viruses?
Computer viruses have many different objectives such as generating money through selling your details or browsing habits to advertisers, steal sensitive information such as credit cards or passwords. Computer viruses can also be used to take control of the infected computer and use it to attack computers or consume the computer’s processing power.
How does my computer get infected with a virus?
Computers can get infected via many different sources but these largely fall into three main sources: 1. visiting an infected website or downloading viruses 2. inserting infected media such as CD or USB memory stick 3. lack of firewall or up-to-date security patches.
Visiting an infected website and downloading
This is probably the most common form of infection, either by clicking a link in an untrusted email, a click through from a Google search which can automatically download the malware without your consent. Some legitimate sites can be infected third party advertisements so visiting trusted websites can also infect your computer. Downloading copyrighted music, movies or software for free, often contain viruses, spyware or malicious software.
Inserting infected media
Since cloud services are readily available the use of external media such as USB memory sticks are less prevalent and this infection mechanism is less common. Some viruses can self replicate and copy themselves to connected media so that any computer the media is subsequently connected can become infected.
Lack of firewall or up-to-date security patches
Since cloud services are readily available the use of external media such as USB memory sticks are less common. Some viruses can self replicate and copy themselves to connected media so that any computer the media is subsequently connected can become infected.
Why is a virus difficult to remove?
The purpose of viruses is to remain undetected on an infected computer for as long as possible. Many viruses are designed to actively remain hidden, it accomplishes this by taking control of the file system and ensuring the antivirus program skips its location during scans.
How to choose the right antivirus
Most computer antivirus programs are now part of a suite which usually includes antivirus protection, antispyware, spam protection and a firewall.
There are free and paid for versions available, the paid versions normally offer better technical support and a more comprehensive protection than free programs. Often vendors offer a cut down free version of their products to allow customers to try before they buy the full version.
Some antivirus products will not only protect against known threats but also detect suspicious behaviour which could be malicious. They often include a white-list or known trusted applications so you do not have to accept applications and continually allow the same routine applications processes to execute.
When selecting the right product it’s also necessary to consider the impact to your computer whilst the antivirus program is running. Some products can be resource intensive and impede the performance of your computer.
Video About Computer Antivirus
When to ask for help
If your computer does get infected with a virus and you do not have an antivirus program or your computer antivirus program cannot remove it you should ask for help. We will use a variety of tools and our experience of removing malicious programs from computers to safely remove the virus and where possible protect your personal data. If you are not experienced in removing viruses we would not recommend undertaking this activity yourself, you may inadvertently delete an important system file which results in your computer not booting up.