Hacking – What Constitutes A Virus?

This post was written by Internet Marketing John on April 29, 2012
Posted Under: Hacking

Several readers have asked about what constitutes a Virus.

What Constitutes A VirusFirst of all, the term “Virus” is a generic term.   It is commonly used to link together several types of malicious computers programs like worms and Trojan horses.

A Trojan Horse is a type of virus that acts like an imposter on your computer.

They generally have file names that sound like something you would want like a computer game or a desktop picture of some sort.

In reality, Trojan Horse viruses are actually programs designed to do something harmful to your computer.

Worms on the other hand are programs designed to breed or replicate themselves from computer to computer.  It should be noted that some Trojan Horse viruses are also worms.

Worms usually replicate themselves through users sending email messages.

When a user accidentally initiates the program and activates the worm file on their computer, the worm program then allows the worm to send itself by email, to an entirely new batch of computers.

Trojan Horses and Worms are not normally attached to legitimate messages like true viruses are.

Instead they are usually attached to some unintelligible gibberish with an enticing subject that could be sent by someone you know.

True Viruses are programs that reside inside other programs that you use on your computer.

These devious programs often masquerade as a useful program, which is why you should never install a computer program from someone you don’t know or trust.

Viruses are often included inside “free” software programs that once installed are later discovered to harbor the virus.

Once your computer is infected, viruses are usually tough to remove.

Malicious scripts are also included in the virus category.

Today entire Web pages complete with pictures, videos, colors, etc. can be contained in email messages.

Although usually not a problem, the web content script that makes the email message more interesting and readable can also be the cause of harm to your computer.

Unscrupulous people can add malicious scripts such as JavaScript, Active X or VBScript to your messages that are designed to annoy you and possibly harm your computer.

Malicious scripts are designed to take advantage of the security holes in your email program or web browser.

For this reason alone, it’s a good idea to frequently update your web browser when newer versions are available.

Although you can’t stop your website from being hacked, you can limit your vulnerabilities by understanding what constitutes a virus.

I hope this clears up exactly what constitutes a virus for those readers who have not already experienced one.

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