Common Viruses and How You Can Avoid Them

Kelly Robins
Jun 26, 2012

Guest Post By Kelly Robins

Nothing can put a damper on using a computer like a virus. While Macs are less likely to be plagued by viruses, they aren't totally immune. With that in mind, anyone who owns a computer, whether it's a Mac or a PC, needs to understand the basics of computer viruses. Even if you rarely download anything from the Internet, your computer may be at risk. Learn more about the most common computer viruses, how people typically get them, how you can avoid them, and how you can get rid of them below.

What are the Most Common Computer Viruses?

Computer viruses take many forms. A few of the most common ones include:

  • Time-Delay Viruses - These viruses slowly build up steam. At first, they do very little damage. When they've run their course, they can leave your computer in ruins.
  • Cloning Viruses - In this case, the virus continually replicates itself until it basically cripples your computer.
  • Encrypted Viruses - It's easy to accidentally download one of these viruses. They are wily because they are encrypted differently every time.Anti-Virus Viruses - As the name suggests, these viruses target a computer's anti-virus software.
  • Trojans - Mac users are susceptible to this type of virus. After a person voluntarily - but inadvertently - downloads an infected file, it provides a gateway for hackers. From there, hackers can wreak all sorts of havoc.

  • How Do Computers Get Viruses?

    Computers don't catch viruses by being exposed to germs. Instead, they catch them when their owners are tricked into downloading and installing them. This is done in a number of different ways. People are sometimes tricked into clicking on bogus links in phishing emails. Others accidentally input information on fake sites that closely resemble legitimate ones. Even simply downloading content like music and videos can expose your computer to harm. Other times, quickly clicking on an ad, whether intentionally or not, can allow a virus to slip onto your computer. In other words, it's very easy to get viruses.

    Avoiding Viruses

    The best way to avoid computer viruses is by understanding how people are tricked into getting them. Look carefully at links before clicking on them. Manually type in the web address of sites that you'd like to visit. Don't use your personal information on public sites. Use different passwords on different sites, and change your passwords regularly. Most importantly, invest in a top-quality anti-virus program. It's the single best way to keep computer viruses at bay. The best programs warn you before allowing you to download potentially infected files, and they perform regular scans to catch viruses early.

    Getting Rid of Viruses

    Despite your best efforts, your computer may become infected by a virus. Don't worry, the first thing to do is to use your anti-virus program to detect it. With any luck, the virus will be identified immediately. Make sure that your virus definitions are up to date. If the virus is identified, you should have the option to repair it. Make sure to back up your computer before doing so. If your program is unable to identify the virus, perform a search for it online. You may be able to find information about eliminating it that way. Be careful though - hackers sometimes post bogus information about popular viruses to create even more problems for users.

    Kelly Robins is a part-time writer for a travel insurance website. She enjoys traveling and writing and is excited to be pursuing a career as a professional writer.

    1 comment
    Dec 13, 2012 6:46am
    I agree, I use an antivirus that updates regularly and preform plenty of scans to make sure I'm not infected with a virus. I use Unthreat Antivirus which is a free antivirus, it's get's the job done and I haven't had a virus since I downloaded it.