Definition of computer virus – Type of computer virus

Definition of computer virus – Type of computer virus

A computer virus is a program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge and runs against your wishes. Viruses can also replicate themselves. All computer viruses are man-made. A simple virus that can make a copy of itself over and over again is relatively easy to produce. Even such a simple virus is dangerous because it will quickly use all available memory and bring the system to a halt. An even more dangerous type of virus is one capable of transmitting itself across networks and bypassing security systems.

In computers, a virus is a program or programming code that replicates by being copied or initiating its copying to another program, computer boot sector or document.

A computer virus is a program designed to harm or cause harm on an infected computer. Its spreads through e-mail attachments, portable devices, websites containing malicious scripts and file downloads. A computer virus attaches itself to the host files and always activate whenever you open the infected files. The virus can replicate itself and then infect the other files on your computer causing more damage. Below is a list of different types of computer viruses and what they do.

Types of computer virus

Resident Viruses

This type of virus is a permanent which dwells in the RAM memory. From there it can overcome and interrupt all of the operations executed by the system: corrupting files and programs that are opened, closed, copied, renamed etc.

Examples include: Randex, CMJ, Meve, and MrKlunky.

Multipartite Viruses

Multipartite viruses are distributed through infected media and usually hide in the memory. Gradually, the virus moves to the boot sector of the hard drive and infects executable files on the hard drive and later across the computer system.

Direct Action Viruses

The main purpose of this virus is to replicate and take action when it is executed. When a specific condition is met, the virus will go into action and infect files in the directory or folder that it is in and in directories that are specified in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file PATH.

This batch file is always located in the root directory of the hard disk and carries out certain operations when the computer is booted.

Overwrite Viruses

Virus of this kind is characterized by the fact that it deletes the information contained in the files that it infects, rendering them partially or totally useless once they have been infected.

The only way to clean a file infected by an overwrite virus is to delete the file completely, thus losing the original content.

Examples of this virus include: Way, Trj.Reboot, Trivial.88.D.

Boot Virus

This type of virus affects the boot sector of a floppy or hard disk. This is a crucial part of a disk, in which information on the disk itself is stored together with a program that makes it possible to boot (start) the computer from the disk.

The best way of avoiding boot viruses is to ensure that floppy disks are write-protected and never start your computer with an unknown floppy disk in the disk drive.

Examples of boot viruses include: Polyboot.B, AntiEXE.

Macro Virus

Macro viruses infect files that are created using certain applications or programs that contain macros. These mini-programs make it possible to automate series of operations so that they are performed as a single action, thereby saving the user from having to carry them out one by one.

Examples of macro viruses: Relax, Melissa.A, Bablas, O97M/Y2K.

Directory Virus

Directory viruses change the paths that indicate the location of a file. By executing a program (file with the extension .EXE or .COM) which has been infected by a virus, you are unknowingly running the virus program, while the original file and program have been previously moved by the virus.

Once infected it becomes impossible to locate the original files.

Polymorphic Virus

Polymorphic viruses encrypt or encode themselves in a different way (using different algorithms and encryption keys) every time they infect a system.

This makes it impossible for anti-viruses to find them using string or signature searches (because they are different in each encryption) and also enables them to create a large number of copies of themselves.

Examples include: Elkern, Marburg, Satan Bug, and Tuareg.

File Infectors

This type of virus infects programs or executable files (files with an .EXE or .COM extension). When one of these programs is run, directly or indirectly, the virus is activated, producing the damaging effects it is programmed to carry out. The majority of existing viruses belongs to this category, and can be classified depending on the actions that they carry out.

Encrypted Viruses

This type of viruses consists of encrypted malicious code, decrypted module. The viruses use encrypted code technique which make antivirus software hardly to detect them. The antivirus program usually can detect this type of viruses when they try spread by decrypted themselves.

Companion Viruses

Companion viruses can be considered file infector viruses like resident or direct action types. They are known as companion viruses because once they get into the system they "accompany" the other files that already exist. In other words, in order to carry out their infection routines, companion viruses can wait in memory until a program is run (resident viruses) or act immediately by making copies of themselves (direct action viruses).

Some examples include: Stator, Asimov.1539, and Terrax.1069

Network Virus

Network viruses rapidly spread through a Local Network Area (LAN), and sometimes throughout the internet. Generally, network viruses multiply through shared resources, i.e., shared drives and folders. When the virus infects a computer, it searches through the network to attack its new potential prey. When the virus finishes infecting that computer, it moves on to the next and the cycle repeats itself.

The most dangerous network viruses are Nimda and SQLSlammer.

Nonresident Viruses

This type of viruses is similar to Resident Viruses by using replication of module. Besides that, Nonresident Viruses role as finder module which can infect to files when it found one (it will select one or more files to infect each time the module is executed).

Stealth Viruses

Stealth Viruses is some sort of viruses which try to trick anti-virus software by intercepting its requests to the operating system. It has ability to hide itself from some antivirus software programs. Therefore, some antivirus program cannot detect them.

Sparse Infectors

In order to spread widely, a virus must attempt to avoid detection. To minimize the probability of its being discovered a virus could use any number of different techniques. It might, for example, only infect every 20th time a file is executed; it might only infect files whose lengths are within narrowly defined ranges or whose names begin with letters in a certain range of the alphabet. There are many other possibilities.

Spacefiller (Cavity) Viruses

Many viruses take the easy way out when infecting files; they simply attach themselves to the end of the file and then change the start of the program so that it first points to the virus and then to the actual program code. Many viruses that do this also implement some stealth techniques so you don't see the increase in file length when the virus is active in memory.

FAT Virus

The file allocation table or FAT is the part of a disk used to connect information and is a vital part of the normal functioning of the computer. This type of virus attack can be especially dangerous, by preventing access to certain sections of the disk where important files are stored. Damage caused can result in information losses from individual files or even entire directories.


A worm is technically not a virus, but a program very similar to a virus; it has the ability to self-replicate, and can lead to negative effects on your system and most importantly they are detected and eliminated by antiviruses.

Examples of worms include: PSWBugbear.B, Lovgate.F, Trile.C, Sobig.D, Mapson.

Trojans or Trojan Horses

Another unsavory breed of malicious code (not a virus as well) are Trojans or Trojan horses, which unlike viruses do not reproduce by infecting other files, nor do they self-replicate like worms.

Logic Bombs

They are not considered viruses because they do not replicate. They are not even programs in their own right but rather camouflaged segments of other programs.

Their objective is to destroy data on the computer once certain conditions have been met. Logic bombs go undetected until launched, and the results can be destructive.


Use of Antivirus software

Antivirus or anti-virus software (often abbreviated as AV), sometimes known as anti-malware software, is computer software used to prevent, detect and remove malicious software.

Antivirus (or anti- virus) software is used to safeguard a computer from malware, including viruses, computer worms, and Trojan horses.

Antivirus software may also remove or prevent spyware and adware, along with other forms of malicious programs. Free antivirus software generally only searches your computer using signature-based detection which involves looking for patterns of data that are known to be related to already-identified malware. Paid antivirus software will usually also include heuristics to catch new, or zero-day threats, by either using genetic signatures to identify new variants of existing virus code or by running the file in a virtual environment (also called a sandbox), and watching what it does to see if it has malicious intent.

Virus designers, however, usually test their malicious code against the major antivirus types of malwares, specifically ransomware, use polymorphic code to make it difficult to be detected by antivirus software. Besides using antivirus software to keep your computer safe and running smoothly, it is also always a good idea to be proactive: make sure your web browser is updated to the latest version, use a firewall, only download programs from websites you trust and always surf the web using a standard user account, rather than your administrator one.


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