There are different types of computer viruses, and they can infect computers in several ways. To keep computers safe from such malware, it is important to learn about the various types of viruses.
Boot sector viruses have been around from the days of MS-DOS. These computer viruses attack the boot sector of a computer and lead to OS crashes and boot failures. In their heyday, boot sector viruses were spread using floppy disks since they were the most widely used removable media back then. To prevent malware from creeping into a system, users can disable boot from removable device option in the BIOS and use a reliable antivirus program.
File viruses deserve a special mention of all the different types of computer viruses since they cause maximum harm to a computer user. These viruses are usually bundled with a file and when the user attempts to execute it, the virus springs into action. Such computer viruses use executable files with file extensions like *.exe, *.bat, *.com and *.vbs in most cases.
Office productivity apps like Microsoft Excel have specific set of actions meant for performing commonplace tasks, and these are called Macros. While Macros make work easier for users, they also make them vulnerable to macro viruses.
What makes macro viruses really special is their general ability to infect files across different operating systems through common unsafe file types like *.do*, *.xl* and *.ppt. One such instance is the infamous Melissa virus which infected thousands of computers running MS Word and also sent virus-infected emails to people using Microsoft Outlook under Microsoft’s Windows and Mac OS.
While several viruses have different ways of functioning, most of them are meant to corrupt the hardware or software on a PC. There can be different types of computer viruses that exploit loopholes in applications used by PC users.
Computer viruses can spread from one PC to another in different ways and with time, the creators of such malware invent newer methods of wreaking havoc. A lot of people unknowingly invite viruses into their PCs by opening email attachments without scanning them. Others risk a computer virus infection by trading all kind of files over removable media like USB drives or CD-ROMs without taking further precautions. The same thing can happen when users click on online advertisements. Some fake system optimizer suite or tune-up utilities contain apps that invite various malware from the internet.
Hackers who create viruses and malware are finding innovative ways to inconvenience PC users. There are some popular social media sites that have been used as platforms to spread different types of computer viruses by such individuals. Therefore it is not only important to keep your used security software apps up-to-date but also your knowledge about the different types of existing computer viruses and how they spread in PCs.