Computer virus: what is it and how to protect it?

Computer virus

A computer virus is a program that aims to perform malicious actions on a computer, such as altering its operation, damage specific and important files of the system, steal user information such as passwords, credit cards, private information, among other things.

A computer virus can be on any device that has an operating system installed. Some examples are a computer, a smartphone, a tablet or a Smart TV. I say some because currently, any electronic device can have a smart enough to be infected by a virus.

The computer is usually infected silently and without the user’s consent. Viruses are usually camouflaged by putting names of common programs or hiding, trying to be as undetectable as possible.

As a computer, smartphone or tablet can become infected by a computer virus

The computer is infected with a virus at the time the user is exposed to vulnerabilities or lack of knowledge. The most common ways that a computer is infected by a virus are the following:

  • Download of pirated Internet programs.
  • Download content from pirated pages (warez), such as music, movies, eBooks, paid courses, ect.
  • Use of P2P programs (ARES for example).
  • Use of Torrent programs (uTorrent for example).
  • Fall into deceptive advertising pitfalls.
  • Connect a USB memory stick infected by a virus (computer).

As you can see the virus does not only reach the computer, cell phone or tablet. The user who uses the infected computer is responsible for that happening, since it does an action that is usually due to lack of knowledge and therefore becomes infected.

Why viruses exist and for what purposes

In most cases programmers program viruses to make money, they can make money in different ways.

There are companies that pay pirate page administrators for conversions (installations of their malicious programs). That is why if you enter a pirated page you will find advertisements that can infect your computer with a virus.

A computer virus usually collects information from users and send it to external servers, from there you are trying to get some benefit, most commonly it is sold to third parties.

How can I protect myself from a computer virus

The most basic way to protect yourself from viruses is an antivirus, however, it is important that the user always takes due care with what he surfs on the Internet.