An Internet virus can be defined as a type of malware designed to spread from computer to computer in order to cause damage, such as harming the operating system software or corrupting or destroying data.

How does a virus work

A computer virus operates by attaching itself to a legitimate program or file that supports macros in order to be executed together with the legitimate code. The signs that a computer is infected are:

  • Slower performance;
  • Popups that appear both online/offline;
  • Programs that do not open, or run slow and close unexpectedly;
  • Browsers which do not run a part or an entire command;
  • Have issues when trying to recognize external hardware;
  • Show a blue screen with an error code.

A virus is different from:

  • Worms: malware computer programs that replicate themselves so it can spread to other computers usually via an Internet network. They rely on security failings to create harm on the target computer in order to gain initial access.
  • Malware: the generic reference that includes malicious software such as viruses, spyware, worms, ransomware, Trojan horses, keylogging, rootkits, adware and other malicious programs. It is meant to disrupt the normal flow of operating, gather sensitive information, breach access and privacy settings and even show unwanted advertising.

How does an antivirus software work

  • Prevention: the anti-malware software is designed to detect and prevent malicious programs from attacking the computer.
  • Taking action by disarming and removing viruses, antivirus software begin by checking the computer programs and comparing them with the intent of recognizing malicious files.
  • Their objective is to defend against ransomware, viruses, spyware, malware and other threat.
  • They help protect the finances, privacy and personal data every time a user goes online.

The programs may be customized to a certain business or network in order to protect the IT system, and provide cyber security risk management.

Antivirus software usually uses three scanning detection processes:

  • Specific Detection: looking for a specific threat through a set of characteristics.
  • Generic Detection: scanning for malware that is part of a same “family” or related to a common code.
  • Heuristic Detection: looking for previously unknown viruses by looking for known suspicious behavior or file structures.

These detection processes have high performance rates, however they are not infallible. When there are signs that a computer has been infected with a virus, it is better to take action immediately and leave the antivirus software remove the malware and recover the data if possible.