7 Types of Computer Viruses to Watch Out For & What They Do

From deleting your computer’s files, to compromising the functions in a multitude of programs, viruses can wreak havoc on your computer in so many ways. Being aware of the types of viruses that are out there and the damages they cause to your computer is incredibly useful in discovering viruses and eliminating them as soon as possible. It would be impossible to go through every potential cyber threat, however, here are some of the main viruses you should be aware of:


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1. Web Scripting Virus

Web scripting viruses can embed themselves in a website’s code, enabling it to infect users who click on malicious links or areas of the site. This virus alters the website’s placement of images, videos and general layout – often without the site’s permission. This essentially misleads visitors in interacting with the infected website and fall victim to the web scripting virus. For these cases, reliable security programs will notify you when coming across suspicious and potentially infected sites.

2. Multipartite Virus

Multipartite viruses are notorious for inflicting a large scale of damage on infected computers. Usually, viruses infect either the computer’s system, boot or the program files, but in this case, damage is done to all areas.

You’re most likely hit with a multipartite virus if: your computer’s virtual memory is low, extensions of some files are changed from .doc to .dot, you can’t view the controllers in the Device Manager, and as with most viruses your computer is incredibly slowed down.

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3. Polymorphic Virus

Polymorphic viruses often serve one main function but undergo multiple changes or ‘morphs’ that make it more difficult to be discovered by security scans. You may see changes in your computer’s file names or encryption set up with various passes without your permission. Once polymorphic viruses are discovered by antivirus programs, it transitions into another signature leaving it untraceable. To combat this, it’s best to use more recent security software that operates on machine learning instead of traditional signature-based approaches – that often overlook polymorphic virus capabilities.

4. Overwrite Virus

Overwrite viruses is just one of the many reasons why backing up your computer’s data is so important. It’s virtually impossible to save your files once it has been infected by an overwrite virus, since the file’s content is completely replaced and the only way to remove it is by deleting the entire file itself. Leaving the virus as it is will cause your computer to become unstable and un-useable.

The difficulty in addressing these threats is in the fact that overwrite viruses have low visibility and can often go unseen by an average user. So, it’s best to run regular anti-virus check ups and monitor for any suspicious activities.

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5. Browser Hijacker

Browser Hijackers are known to displace your existing web browser with its own home page, error page, or browser itself. What you’re left with is an infected browser full of unwanted advertising, which by clicking on it, feeds the hijacker’s ad revenue.

Some of the red flag to watch out for is being redirected to a different site than the one you clicked on, seeing several pop-up ads in your window, toolbar features installed without your permission and a significantly slowed down computer speed.

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6. Resident Virus

Unlike non-resident viruses, a resident virus does not need to be executed for it to start its damage. It is usually embedded in a computer’s memory and infects files that are run – even overriding some antivirus software making it challenging to rid a computer of this type of virus. Specialised malware removal tools in computer memory is often needed, or an IT security professional will need to be called in to assist.


7. Macro Virus

These viruses replace what is known as the ‘macro’ in programs, which essentially allows the program to run and execute various commands or actions. Once infected, you may be asked for passwords on files that didn’t require prior to the virus, display odd errors, run slower than usual, and find new or moved files in your computer. It also can send a wave of emails in your address book containing malicious links and attachments. Luckily, many antivirus programs stop you from downloading such malware, so this would be the best approach to prevent future computer issues.

The existence of sophisticated computer viruses will only continue as long as technology keeps evolving and we become more reliant on using the digital space. Being on top of the latest security software and seeking professional IT assistance sets you up for the best protection against the range of potential online threats. If you are in need of upgrading your IT security for your home or business, Integr8IT is here to help – give us a call today on 03 9570 1911.

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