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While a new era of high technologies introduced numerous benefits to us, unfortunately, there are still a few disadvantages. The availability of the Internet with all its perks created favorable conditions for online criminals and their greatest creation – computer virus. It is easy to produce, hard to detect, and almost impossible to deal with if it is not noticed in time.
Usually, a computer virus is a malicious computer program, designed with the intention of damaging or stealing personal data. Moreover, they are programed in a way to reproduce themselves within the infected software. A virus, after getting into a computer, executes itself and uploads its instructions as well as the directive code. Those instructions are called payload and are used to change the data of files, causing system malfunction, useless messages on the screen, or simply killing your computer software.
All the software within a computer is extremely vulnerable. Thus, a decently designed computer virus can have a devastating impact on the system. Quite a vivid example can be Melissa Virus that forced large companies, including Microsoft, to close down their mailing system until the complete virus elimination. There are four types of harmful software known for today: logic bomb, virus, Trojan horse, and worm.
Types of Viruses
Logic bombs are specially written codes that are forcibly inserted into computer software to make it work in a destructive way, if certain conditions are met (clock time, or any action within a computer). The consequences of the activation of a logic bomb can be really horrible, sometimes even the destruction of the whole system.
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Viruses like to stick to the existing software. Every time you activate that software, the virus is activated as well, beginning its dark job of cloning itself. The most vivid examples of a virus, working on your computer, is shortage of virtual (RAM) as well as physical (hard drive) memory.
Trojan horses are usually confused with simple viruses due to the way of their spreading. The interesting thing about this type of harmful software is that Trojan pretends to be not harmful at all. You think you have downloaded a piece of media, for example a film or a song, but after double-clicking on it, nothing happens. Nothing visible happens, however, you personally activated a Trojan that can either erase your data, send your personal information to somewhere else, or even crash the entire system.
Worms also have similar duplicating method comparing to viruses. However, while viruses work usually with offline software, worms like to find security breaches in networks and then spread themselves through those security holes to other machines. The speed of duplicating is extremely high, thanks to online self-distribution.
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Computer viruses made the life of the society extremely vulnerable as well as dangerous. The world has seen a lot of examples where a few lines of code cost multimillion corporations the half of their wealth. Usually, viruses are created just for fun, however, there have been cases, when the vital communication as well as life support systems were damaged, consequently taking lives of innocent people. Therefore, it is extremely important to protect computer systems against virus contamination and, surely, look for a way to prevent those harmful programs from being created.