The number of Computers and Devices that are been attacked by computer virus is overwhelming, about 30% to 50% of softwares available on the internet today contains these computer virus. When these softwares containing these virus programs are downloaded to your PC, Phones or other smart gadgets, they get infected right away.
If your Computer or other devices have not been infected by a Virus program, we are quite sure you must have heard other people scream about getting infected but what exactly is this computer virus?
What is a Computer Virus?
According to the English mini dictionary “A program which can secretly transmit itself between Computers through networks (especially the internet) or removable storage devices such as CDs, USB drives, Cables etc and they often cause damage to systems and data as they are propagated”.
What a lot of people fail to understand is that, this Computer Virus that a lot people are talking about is actually a computer program or we can also say it’s a set of command codes that are been written by Humans to intercept your data one way or another. Their basic operations can harm your computer and sometimes you might not even be unaware that you have been infected by these programs until it’s too late. One major disadvantage of this virus program is the ability to replicate itself and move from one Device to another. The word “computer virus” was gotten from its biological name “Virus” owing to the fact that it can attach itself to clean files or data and keep on spreading and also infect more clean data on your computer as it keeps propagating.
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What does a Computer Virus do?
We already know that a Computer Virus infects or attack our data but what does this “attack” or “infect” really mean. Below we listed out the major operations of a computer virus.
- Delete: Some Computer Virus have the ability to delete your personal data, this can be a specific type of file or the entire data contained on your computer or device. They are designed with certain codes to delete files even without the users approval.
- Modification: Many Virus on the other hand has been known to attach itself with clean softwares which they alter their programming codes by editing or inserting their own set of command codes. This attack can render the clean software inactive or produce random uncomfortable results. Some modifications of these programs by the Virus can even cause these programs to give out private information. This is mostly the aims of some virus programmers to steal certain information from their victim before the launch their major attack.
- Replication : Another feature of a Virus is replication, this feature of a virus to be able to recreate itself is one of the major attributes that differentiates a virus from other malware programs. When a Virus keeps on replicating itself it fills up your device memory or disk space.
Operations of a Virus
There are certain operations that makes up a Virus, these operations are what enables these programs to function maliciously. For a program to be called a virus, it must be able to perform about 5 stages of routine.
- Search: The first operation of a virus is to find and locate it’s host. In this case our host can be a computer program, software, video and even an audio. There are many hosts a computer virus can be programmed to search out.
- Attachment: The second phase of the computer virus is to attach itself to any of the host it was programmed to find and insert it’s malicious coding into them. While awaiting it’s download to your device.
- Replication: After the search and attachment stage, the virus replicates itself to launch more attacks on other software and programs it can find on your device. Many softwares are not stand alone softwares, due to the fact that they require other softwares and programs to run. For instance, the browsing softwares require the internet connection to run, some other softwares may require the Bluetooth functionality, WiFi, USB and other extensions or ad-dons. When this software connects to others, the virus replicates itself and spreads through these means.
- Trigger: Remember a virus is an executable program, it has been coded in way that something has to happen before it begins it’s functionality. The trigger in some cases could be time factor, condition, presence of another program, a specific button press, and so on. This highly depends on the attacker.
- Payload: Now this is the main and obvious purpose of the Virus attack. This is what the Computer Virus programmer had in mind when coding the Virus. Sometimes this is the phase when Virus can be noticed. When the Virus program has been triggered to deliver it’s payload, which can be to delete, edit or corrupt a system.
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We shall be splitting this article to allow further in depth discussion on what is a computer virus and everything it entails.