Computer Internet Security: How Viruses Can Destroy Your E-business

By: Barry Kareful

It is amazing how many people; both casual Internet "surfers" and online marketers choose to ignore computer internet security. Perhaps it is simply due to ignorance as to how widespread and dangerous computer viruses are or that they are simply "too cheap" to invest in quality internet security products. Then again it could be a matter of their naive belief that "it will never happen to me". Whatever the reason, with some computer industry reports claiming nearly 5,000 "new" computer viruses being discovered each year, whether you are a casual Internet surfer or a serious online marketer, you cannot afford not to take computer virus threats very seriously! Just imagine logging into your computer one fine day to check your bank account or PayPal account only to find all your funds are gone! Your hard earned money, either from your traditional job or online business (perhaps both) have been stolen. Yes, there are viruses out there that are capable of gathering sensitive data (passwords, credit card information, etc.) from your computer without your knowledge and sending it back to the criminals that wrote the virus programs. Good-bye savings! So it is well worth your while to invest in the best internet security software that you can afford. So what is a computer virus anyway? In simple terms, a computer virus is a program that has the ability to spread throughout your computer and/or network by attaching itself to your program files or host files. Once the computer virus has copied itself throughout your computer system, depending on the type of virus, it starts to interfere with the normal operation of your computer and /or network in a variety of ways which we will discuss in a later article. Unfortunately computer viruses come in many different forms, so there is no one common cure that will prevent and destroy all the many viruses out there. Some of the more common viruses are:
  • Boot sector viruses that focus on infecting the boot sector of a hard drive as well as the "master boot record". Simply starting or "booting" your computer is enough to activate this nasty critter if your computer is infected.
  • File infector viruses like to go after your application programs by attaching themselves to the code of the host file. This allows them to spread from one computer to another over a network once the host application is utilized by the computer user (you).
  • Macro viruses are actually tiny programs on their own which can infiltrate an application program and then begin to replace normal programming code to cause unexplained and potentially destructive behavior, which may result in data loss and more.
Other virus types that are becoming more common and that you need to be aware of include:
  • stealth viruses which have the ability to hide from all but the best internet security programs,
  • time bomb viruses that are written specifically to become active on a certain date or time specified by their creator,
  • polymorphic viruses have the built in ability to actually change their code to fool basic antivirus scanning software until they are ready to strike,
  • multipartite viruses are a combination (or hybrid) of two or more viruses such as a boot sector virus and a file infector virus,
  • logic bombs are written to strike when a certain event, predetermined by their creator, happens. Until that time, they behave like a time bomb virus, lying in wait.
On final tidbit of information just in case you still are unconvinced of the seriousness and threats to your computer internet security posed by computer viruses. Depending on your information sources, estimates of new computer viruses discovered each month range from as low as 100 upwards to over 500! Clearly it is no longer a question of "if I do get a computer virus infection", but rather, "when I get a computer virus infection". In my next articles we will discuss Antivirus software, what it does, how to tell if you have an infected computer and/or network, and what you need to look for in a good Antivirus software program for your internet security system.

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About the Author:
Barry has earned several awards for his article writing efforts on a variety of topics. Visit his website Computer Internet Security.Com to learn more about computer internet security or to discover his recommended best internet security software.