Antiviruses have been around since 1987, where the first antivirus program was created and made available for the general consumer. Viruses were not originally as harmful as they are now, and were not necessarily created out of malicious intent, but used to protect original software from being pirated, penalty-free!
However, viruses now can pose great threats to not only the inner workings of technology but also the data they hold. This piece will look into why antiviruses are crucial for technology.
What Can Viruses do to Technology?
Software viruses work in very similar ways to those that affect our health. They are designed to infiltrate computer and software systems and infect and corrupt from the inside. Some viruses will cause harmful and destroying damage, while others might just be a nuisance to fix, presenting you with minor visible damage.
Viruses work by attaching themselves on to legitimate code, in order to infiltrate and spread within a system. Some viruses will be used to shut down computers; others will be used as a bribe, withholding information unless X amount of money is paid. Some can scan bank details, online passwords, and other sensitive data and rip them off the computer to be used by the hacker.
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How Many Types of Viruses are There?
There is an infinite number of viruses. As of 2013, there were 100,000 viruses that were known, which, of course, does not account for the undetected ones. The rate at which technology and code information grows is true of that with viruses as well, so it is impossible to know how many viruses are out there now, especially several years later.
That being said, there are two main fundamental cores to a virus that can help in understanding how they work.
Macro computer viruses – A macro computer virus infects software programs from the moment it is activated. Examples of this include unsafe attachments in emails, PDFs, and popups.
Polymorphic viruses – A polymorphic virus is a more advanced form of virus which is able to morph its code to avoid detection from antivirus software
Why Use Anti-Virus Software?
Antivirus software works in a few ways. Either the antivirus is able to detect and reject a virus that is trying to enter a system, or it can protect the system and its data even if it does acquire a virus code.
Viruses work by exploiting the weak spots in a system, and actively seek out vulnerabilities within application codes or operating systems in order to infect them. After they become infected, the hacker can then use the infected system freely. If a software virus is accidentally downloaded, but the system is secure, and all patches have been kept up to date, the virus code will not have anywhere to go or anything to exploit.