A computer virus is a program, script, or macro designed to cause damage, steal personal information, modify data, send e-mail, display messages, or some combination of these actions. When the virus is executed, it spreads by copying itself into or over data files, programs, or the boot sector of a computer's hard drive. Virus writers use detailed knowledge of security vulnerabilities to gain access to a host's computer.
When was the term "Virus" first coined?
The concept of a computer program capable of reproducing itself was first mentioned by John von Neumann in his 1949 "Theory of self-reproducing automata" essay. Later, Fred Cohen in 1983 coined the term virus in a 1984 research paper as "a computer program that can affect other computer programs by modifying them in such a way as to include a (possibly evolved) copy of itself."
What was the first computer virus ever created?
The first computer virus known as the Elk Cloner was written by Rich Skrenta in 1982 who was a 15-year old high school student at the time. The Elk Cloner virus spread to other computers by monitoring the floppy drive and copying itself to any floppy diskette that was inserted into the computer. Once a floppy was infected it would infect all other computers that used the disk was. A computer that was infected would display a short poem on every 50th boot.
How to protect your computer from a virus
You can protect your computer from viruses by installing an antivirus protection program. Once installed on a computer an antivirus monitors, detects, and cleans any computer viruses by looking for virus signatures.
Examples of computer viruses
Below is a list of the different types of computer viruses.
- Boot sector virus
- CMOS virus
- Companion virus
- Executable virus
- Macro virus, MBR virus
- Multipart virus
- Nonresident virus
- Overwrite virus
- Polymorphic virus
- Rabbit virus
- Resident virus
- Stealth virus
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- How do I create a computer virus?
- All other computer virus questions and answers.
- Computer virus and information page.