Understanding Viruses: 10 Types You Should Know About

Computer viruses come in a variety of different forms, and each have their own characteristics, which makes it important for computer users to understand how different viruses work and how to detect them. Here, the data forensics specialists at Atlantic Data Forensics explain 10 types of viruses you should know about.

Browser Hijacker

A browser hijacker can replace your home page or search engine with it’s own page to display unwanted advertising. While this type of virus is merely a ploy to improve viewing and income from web advertisements, it can be an irritating and distracting form of hijacking that should be cleaned from your computer.

Direct Action Virus

A direct action virus is a type of file infector virus that works by attaching itself to an .exe or .com file when installed or executed. Once this occurs, the virus can spread to other existing files and can render them inaccessible. While the direct action virus is unwanted and can hinder your ability to access files on your computer, they are not usually able to delete files entirely and can be removed with an anti-virus program.

Resident Virus

Resident viruses are similar to direct action viruses, as both are types of file infector viruses. However, while a direct action virus requires the user to install or execute the infected file for the virus to be activated, a resident virus installs themselves on the computer and are therefore considered more dangerous and trickier to eradicate. Resident viruses can either be fast infectors or slow infectors, which affects the speed in which these viruses infect files and documents on your computer. Resident viruses need to be removed with an anti-malware software immediately, as the virus can potentially infect your entire anti-virus software.

Boot Sector Virus

While the boot sector virus has grown more obsolete in recent years, as it was most commonly found in floppy disks used to boot computers, it can still appear on modern computers on the “Master Boot Record.” Thankfully, however, today’s computers have evolved away from the floppy disk and therefore boot sector virus cases have become less and less common.

File Virus

File viruses are commonly found in executable files such as .exe, .vbs or a .com files. If you run an executable file that is infected with a file virus, it can potentially enter your computer’s memory and subsequently run your computer. Two types of file viruses include direct action and resident viruses, which each have their own unique characteristics and methods for removal. If you think your computer has been infected with a file virus, talk to a specialist, such as the professionals at Atlantic Data Forensics, to learn more about your options and how you can avoid these viruses in the future.

Macro Virus

Macro viruses are written in macro language, which means that they can mimic other software programs that utilize macro language, such as Microsoft Word or Excel. Macro virus can be damaging, as they can appear in the form of a Word document and, when clicked on, can activate an infection or direct the user to a malicious website or program, most typically a pornographic website. To make matters worse, macro viruses can then send the infected virus document to family and friends via your contact list. It is important to seek the help of a data specialist as soon as you discover a macro virus.

Multipartite Virus

Able to infect computer softwares using multiple methods, multipartite viruses can be difficult to target without the help of a specialist or quality anti-malware program. The virus can attack both the boot sector and executable files at the same time, whereas other viruses usually spread via one of these methods.

Polymorphic Virus

Polymorphic viruses are extremely difficult to detect via an ordinary anti-virus software as they have the ability to change their code every time the infected file is executed. Because most anti-virus programs detect and remove viruses by detecting its code, the polymorphic viruses’ ability to alter its own code with every activation creates an added challenge.

Stealth Virus

Stealth viruses get their name due to their ability to stay undetected for an extended period of time and have the ability to change information on your computer by entering a file’s memory. While stealth viruses can be tricky to eradicate, as they have the tendency to remain undetected by various anti-virus software, a high-grade anti-virus program can detect a stealth virus and remove it.

Web Scripting Virus

A web scripting virus is a virus that infects your web browser security, allowing hackers to implement their own script into your web page and subsequently steal your information through your browser. These viruses can be very impactful, especially if they infect popular and influential websites that receive a host of daily traffic. This virus, however, is able to be removed with the help of a specialist.

Consult an Experienced Data Forensics Specialist at Atlantic Data Forensics for More Information

Computer viruses are unwanted and damaging threats to our computer safety that often require the assistance of a professional to remove efficiently and with as little damage as possible to the integrity of your device. The experienced data forensics specialists at Atlantic Data Forensics are proficient in virus detection and prevention and can help you return your computer system to normalcy. Contact Atlantic Data Forensics today​for more information.