Is your computer doing strange things? Do you have pop up windows telling you that you should scan your computer for out of date drivers, malware or other things that the windows claims that it can fix? You may be the victim of a computer virus or malware
What is a computer virus?
Literally, a computer virus is a small piece of computer code that can replicate itself onto other computers that it comes in contact with. Viruses usually contain payloads that can, and do cause significant issues, from damaging files and data to deleting contents of drives, even encrypting the contents and holding your data to ransom until a fee is paid. Early on, people identified this behavior of transferring from one to another as being similar to the spread of viruses in humans and applied the term to computers. Computer viruses cannot be transferred to humans and computers cannot be infected with human viruses, although with the advances with artificial intelligence these days, I suppose it couldn't be ruled out completely...Nah, never happen!
What is Malware, and what's the difference between that and a Computer Virus?
Well, to be perfectly honest, not a lot. Malware tends to be more annoying than anything, can slow down your computer and tends to be trying to sell you something up front or by devious means. A classic indication of malware infection is if you have pop up windows telling you to scan for drivers or damaged system files or other things especially if you didn't install the pop up program, probably means have malware installed. If you find that you can't update you antivirus software, or you can't download and install reputable antivirus software, then chances are you have a virus on your computer.
What is a Trojan?
A Trojan is a particular type of virus that gets onto your computer pretending to be something else. A classic example of this, you download a screensaver for example and there is a virus embedded in the screensaver. You download the innocent looking screensaver and run the downloaded file. What this does is run the screen saver program and also at the same time, you have run the virus which is now installed on your computer and is free to do whatever damage the virus writers can dream up.
How do Viruses Spread
Typically, the most common way people get infected is via links within emais. These are usually Internet links within the body of an email, and may seem to be perfectly innocent, for example, "See Fred making an idiot of himself" the words may say what you see there, but the link may be going to a hackers website like www.I'mGoingToWipeYourComputer.com It is very easy to create a link to anywhere on the Internet. If you are in doubt as to where the link is pointing to, and you really should be, hover your mouse over the link and it should show the full link address. I have seen a lot of these links pretending to be banks, ebay, paypal etc. even creating site addresses that, to the casual glance, look legitimate. Look closely and you may see something like www.paypol.com instead of www.paypal.com Be careful, do not add your name to the list of people who have been scammed by following links they thought was a legitimate link.
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