Computer Viruses - Part 2
The late 1980’s saw the rise of the first conventional computer viruses - Computer Viruses introduction. A handful of factors have contributed to the rise of computer viruses. Personal computers have experienced rapid proliferation during the 1980’s, and were used in businesses and homes due to the release of the IBM PC in 1982. Eventually, personal computers found its way into people’s homes and college campuses in the late 1980’s. Another factor was the use of computer bulletin boards which allowed people to download a plethora of computer programs that sometimes carry a random virus with them. Bulletin boards are considered the predecessor of the notorious computer virus called Trojan horse. Trojan horses deceive computer users due to its cunning way of deleting your files, hence, the name Trojan horse. Usually, a trojan horse is being carried by a downloadable game over the internet. The floppy disk contributed to the rampant rise of computer viruses. Some computer programs can be stored in a floppy disk, and virus authors have been at the forefront of reproducing computer programs along with viruses. The first known computer viruses were conspicuously were carried by computer programs, games, and word processors. An eager computer user downloading a game might be blindsided by the fact that it may not carry a virus. Before he learns it, his computer is infected and it is too late for immediate file recovery. Whenever the floppy disk with an infected program is borrowed by another user then used in another computer, the virus gradually wipes out the entire system of the computer and files are erased as well. With this in mind, a computer virus lives up to its name.
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Anatomy of a Computer Virus
First, let us define what a computer virus is. A computer virus is a software program that infects a computer and can easily spread to a network of computers. Computer operation might be abruptly halted which eventually leads to system corruption. These viruses are carried by e-mail messages disguised as file attachments and are easily spread by forwarding the e-mail message attached with the virus. Thus, one must not open a random e-mail containing a suspicious attachment with the exemption of senders found in your e-mail directory (Microsoft,2007).
The evolution of computer viruses have been a chronic problem for frequent computer users. Virus authors have become more cunning and even more sophisticated in creating viruses, as well as spreading it in a most subtle way. One mischievous way of easily spreading a virus is the capability to load itself into a computer’s memory, so that they can corrupt the system even if the computer is turned off. Imagine these viruses replicating themselves overnight and then discovering in the morning that your computer crashed already.Viruses have also the capability to infect the boot portion found in hard disks and floppy disks. This boot portion is used initially by the computer when it downloads its operating system. Its role is to remind the computer how to load the entirety of the operating system. A virus can affirm its execution by simply placing its code on the boot sector of a floppy disk. A virus has the initiative of loading itself into a computer’s memory then run by the time the computer is turned on. Boot viruses are have been notorious for infecting network of computers, specially in businesses and college campuses where a bevy of personal computers are being shared by various users (Marshall Brain,2008).
Remedies for a Computer Virus
Without the aid of virus removal tools, removing a computer virus is a complicated task and can be a problem for the user who is clueless in computer troubleshooting. Some computer viruses are adamant in corrupting the system of a computer. An example of this is Spyware, which reinstalls itself after knowing that it has been detected and removed already. This is where anti-virus programs come into play. Anti-virus programs aid a computer used in removing suspicious software and constantly updating the computer for virus alerts. The following are reminders on how to prevent and remove computer viruses:
· Always be reminded that Macro Virus Protection is enabled in all Microsoft applications, and you should not run macros in a document unless you are familiar with what they do. Avoiding all macros is a great policy (Marshall Brain, 2008).
· Do not double-click on random e-mail attachment that contains an executable file. Attachments that come in as word files, spreadsheets, images are data files and they can do no damage yet refrain from running executables that are sent via e-mail (Marshall Brain, 2008).
· Use the UNIX operating system if you are adamant on file and system security, this is a more secure operating system. You seldom hear about viruses corrupting the UNIX operating system due to the fact that its security features halt viruses from penetrating the computer’s hard disk (Marshall Brain, 2008).
Brain, M. (2008). How Computer Viruses Work. Retrieved January 29, 2008 from http://computer.howstuffworks.com/virus6.htm
Microsoft. (2008). Computer viruses: description, prevention, and recovery. Retrieved January 29. 2008 from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/129972