What is a computer virus?
A computer virus (also popularly called a virus) is a subcategory malware. A virus is a malicious program (or piece of computer code) that infects computers and then attempts to multiply and spread itself across a network. A virus is often hidden in a file, and is activated by users opening or activating the infected file. Once activated, a virus can do great damage to the software and files on a computer. Sometimes people can no longer access their computer after being infected with a virus.
How does a computer virus attack?
As soon as a virus has successfully attached itself to a document, program or file, nothing happens at first. People can have an infected file on their computer for a long time without anything happening. Only when the file in question is opened or activated, does the virus code become active. Thus, a virus must be activated by the user before any actual infection occurs (unlike a computer worm). But once the virus becomes active, it can infect other computers on the same network. Many computer viruses can perform all sorts of nasty actions on a computer.
- Stealing passwords from files.
- Keystrokes (reading what you type).
- Take over a computer completely.
- Corrupt files.
- Harass someone’s email contacts with spam emails (often to further address the virus).
Protect your computer, smartphone and tablet with antivirus software
Prevention is better than cure. Make sure you always have an up-to-date antivirus package installed on your phone, tablet and smartphone. Look in the sections below to find out which antivirus is suitable for your equipment.
Virus Scanners for Windows
Some good antivirus scanners for Windows, most of which offer a free variant:
Virus Scanners for Mac
The following antivirus programs are good and reliable for Mac:
- Bitdefender for Mac
- AVG for Mac
- Kaspersky for Mac
Virus Scanners for Android
Most of these virus scanners for Android (smartphone and tablet) are free:
- Zoner Antivirus
Virus Scanners for iOS
Most of these virus scanners for iPad and iPhone are free:
- Watch out for mobile security