Australia has been a recent victim of large numbers of virus infections. Home and businesses around the country spend a lot of money each year disinfecting and protecting devices. Viruses can be spread in several ways, including through email, file sharing, and chat rooms. Most people will never know they have a virus, so it is usually hard to tell if you have been infected. The most common way to get a virus is through a floppy disk or an attached USB drive. Other ways are through downloading from p2p networks, opening infectious email attachments, and opening programs that do not have trusted certificates.

How it happens

When a person opens an attachment, such as a Word document or Photoshop file, it is opened into the computer’s memory by the operating system (OS). If there is a virus inside, it will continue to spread and potentially cause more damage to the computer’s hard drive. There are ways to stop viruses spreading, such as running an anti-virus scan daily and making sure all your files, including those that are installed on your hard drive, are protected.

Computer Virus vs Worms vs Trojans

Like viruses, worms are created with a core programming code that is malicious. They are transferred from one computer to another with software programs and email attachments. They can be downloaded free from file-sharing websites. Some worms may require a download to your hard drive and then an infection with malicious software programs to complete.

A Trojan is a program that quietly installs itself on your computer without your consent. It can be hidden anywhere on your system including on your desktop, documents, hidden files, and web pages. These can spread through email attachments, instant messaging, and websites.

Let us look at more ways on how these viruses spread in the real world:

Computer Network / Downloads

Networking is a common way how computer viruses spread. Viruses and worms can spread through file sharing programs, where they are transferred via network traffic. For example, if your child is using the network to download game software, an infectious worm or virus can infect the hard drive contained in this software.

Emails

Emails can contain any type of virus or worm, including image attachments that are attached to an email attachment. For example, someone may send you a video of a puppy that they have just picked up. While you may open the video in your email client, it may have the capabilities to open infectious attachments on your computer that contain worms or viruses.

Damage viruses can inflict

As per computertechnicians.com.au, viruses can destroy or damage parts of your operating system. Some worms may even cause permanent damage and shut down your computer. They can destroy files, folders, applications, settings, and even entire hard drives. Other worms have the potential to spread through the host program on your operating system which can cause system corruption and instability.

How do computer viruses take control of your computer?

Most viruses work by infecting a program or driver. Once the virus has infected the program or driver, it will continue to spread and damage your machine until you take control of your machine and remove the virus. An example of a driver infection is if you infected your USB drive which contained a game that you download from the internet. Once you remove the virus, the game will not load so you will need to take out the infected device and insert a working one.