What is the most common computer virus?

Answered by Antonio Sutton

The most common computer virus can vary depending on the time period and the specific context. However, there are several types of viruses that have consistently been prevalent and have caused significant damage to computer systems. In this answer, I will discuss some of these common computer viruses and provide tips on how to avoid them.

1. Macro Virus: This type of virus is often found in Microsoft Office programs, such as Word or Excel. Macro viruses are written in macro language and can infect files by attaching themselves to documents or spreadsheets. They can spread through email attachments or infected removable devices. To avoid macro viruses, it is important to keep your antivirus software up to date, disable macros in Office programs, and be cautious when opening email attachments or downloading files from untrusted sources.

2. Boot Sector Virus: This type of virus infects the boot sector of a computer’s hard drive or floppy disk. It is usually spread through infected removable media or by downloading infected files from the internet. Boot sector viruses can cause damage to the computer’s startup process and can be difficult to remove. To protect against boot sector viruses, it is recommended to use a reliable antivirus program, avoid using untrusted or pirated software, and regularly scan your system for any potential threats.

3. Trojan Horses: Trojan horses are malicious programs that disguise themselves as legitimate software. They often trick users into downloading and running them, allowing hackers to gain unauthorized access to the infected computer. Trojan horses can be distributed through email attachments, malicious websites, or bundled with other software. To avoid Trojan horse infections, it is crucial to exercise caution when downloading files or clicking on links from unknown sources, regularly update your operating system and antivirus software, and use a firewall to control incoming and outgoing network traffic.

4. Overwrite Virus: This type of virus overwrites or modifies files on a computer, making them unusable or corrupting their content. Overwrite viruses can spread through email attachments, network shares, or infected websites. To protect against overwrite viruses, it is important to regularly back up your files, avoid opening suspicious email attachments, and use reputable antivirus software with real-time scanning capabilities.

5. Browser Hijacker: Browser hijackers are malicious programs that alter the settings of a web browser without the user’s consent. They often change the default search engine, homepage, or install unwanted browser extensions. Browser hijackers can be distributed through software bundling, malicious websites, or by clicking on deceptive ads. To prevent browser hijacking, be cautious when installing software and always choose the custom installation option to avoid installing unwanted programs. Additionally, regularly update your web browser and use reputable security extensions to block malicious websites and ads.

6. Web Scripting Virus: Web scripting viruses exploit vulnerabilities in web applications or websites to inject malicious code. These viruses can be used to steal sensitive information, spread malware, or launch attacks on other systems. To protect against web scripting viruses, it is important to keep your web browser, plugins, and web applications up to date. Additionally, use a reputable security solution that can detect and block malicious scripts.

7. Polymorphic Virus: Polymorphic viruses have the ability to change their code and characteristics to avoid detection by antivirus software. They can infect various types of files and spread through email attachments, infected websites, or removable media. To protect against polymorphic viruses, it is important to regularly update your antivirus software, use strong and unique passwords, and avoid downloading files from suspicious or untrusted sources.

8. Resident Virus: Resident viruses are a type of virus that resides in the computer’s memory and executes whenever the operating system is running. They can infect files, slow down the system, or steal sensitive information. Resident viruses can be spread through infected files, email attachments, or malicious websites. To protect against resident viruses, it is crucial to use reputable antivirus software with real-time scanning capabilities, regularly update your operating system and software, and avoid downloading files from untrusted sources.

There are various types of computer viruses that have been consistently common and pose a threat to computer systems. By following best practices such as keeping your software up to date, using reputable antivirus software, being cautious when downloading files or clicking on links, and avoiding untrusted sources, you can significantly reduce the risk of infection and protect your computer from these common viruses.