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Everyone dreads being the recipient of a computer virus, but not everyone minds studying them. There are researchers who spend a lot of time looking into different types of computer viruses and related security threats in order to determine how they’re programmed, how they do damage, and how they spread. Personally, I find this field interesting, and I enjoy reading about the different types of viruses in existence.

But even if you don’t know much care, basic knowledge about security threats can be useful. It’s sometimes hard to know how a risk must be dealt with before you know its consequences. With a computer virus, however, the consequence is sometimes complete loss of your data or identity theft – so it’s best to learn sooner rather than later!

1. Boot Sector Virus

types of computer viruseshijacks Get Geeky and Fix your PC with HijackThis Get Geeky and Fix your PC with HijackThis Read More certain browser functions, usually in the form of re-directing the user automatically to particular sites. It’s usually assumed that this tactic is designed to increase revenue from web advertisements.

There are a lot of such viruses, and they usually have “search” included somewhere in their description. CoolWebSearch may be the most well known example, but others are nearly as common.

3. Direct Action Virus

This type of virus, unlike most, only comes into action when the file containing the virus is executed. The payload is delivered and then the virus essentially becomes dormant – it takes no other action unless an infected file is executed again.

Most viruses do not use the direct action method of reproduction simply because it is not prolific, but viruses of this type have done damage in the past. The Vienna virus, which briefly threatened computers in 1988, is one such example of a direct action virus.

4. File Infector Virus

computer virusesMelissa, a Word document supposedly containing the passwords to pornographic websites. The virus also exploited Word’s link to Microsoft Outlook in order to automatically email 3 Top Ways People Get Infected by An Email Virus 3 Top Ways People Get Infected by An Email Virus Read More copies of itself.

6. Multipartite Virus

While some viruses are happy to spread via one method or deliver a single payload, Multipartite viruses want it all. A virus of this type may spread in multiple ways, and it may take different actions on an infected computer depending on variables, such as the operating system installed or the existence of certain files.

7. Polymorphic Virus

types of computer virusesonline video 18 Free Ways To Download Any Video Off The Internet 18 Free Ways To Download Any Video Off The Internet Read More in your browser, for example, requires the execution of a specific code language that provides both the video itself and the player interface.

Of course, this code can sometimes be exploited, making it possible for a virus to infect a computer or take actions on a computer through a website. Although malicious sites are sometimes created with purposely infected code, many such cases of virus exist because of code inserted into a site without the webmaster’s knowledge.

Conclusion

I’ve included every type of computer virus in this article that I felt was relevant, but this isn’t a list of every type of virus known to man. Also, I did not include any worms or trojans, two common threats that are similar to viruses but technically not the same. If there is a specific type of virus that you feel was missed and is important, let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: Floppy Disks via Shutterstock

  1. Sam
    August 26, 2016 at 3:15 am

    my nigga learn to count

  2. simon
    August 11, 2016 at 10:31 am

    hello

    my memstick got infected by a software that recreates uuuuuu folders
    i have tried to format the memstick but on creating a new folder the the files fill it up
    any help i would appreciate

  3. Kelvin100WILLIAMS
    July 5, 2016 at 7:34 am

    ther is no Overwrite virus,Macro virus,Sparse Infectors,Spacefiller(Cavity)virus and also FAT Virus.

  4. emmanuel makui
    July 1, 2016 at 9:25 am

    w are learning types of viruses and your notes are good for learning

  5. harvey
    June 13, 2016 at 8:54 am

    ive got a massive deck

  6. harvey
    June 13, 2016 at 8:52 am

    im in a computing lesson ty

  7. samifss
    June 2, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    203.202.252.189/hms

  8. Nigga
    May 25, 2016 at 1:47 am

    No #2, 5, 8, or 9?

  9. Sky Blue
    April 5, 2016 at 3:30 am

    Why is Grouvi App not available at Malaysia :(

  10. Luckless Person
    March 29, 2016 at 4:05 am

    thanks for share this post

  11. Peter Anton
    May 28, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Super great article ! Is there a way to notice a possible virus simply by the kb of a file ?

    • letsplayordy
      June 10, 2015 at 6:45 pm

      Yes, but by number of bytes would be more effective. You could also compare hashes of the original and the new file.

  12. 1yohcAD
    May 1, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    I am sure there is many more (undiscovered) types of viruses, rootkits, worms & Trojans out there!

  13. Maaz
    March 29, 2015 at 11:28 am

    good information and all people seek them .

  14. Parviz
    March 26, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Thanx so much:)

  15. charmi somaiya
    March 14, 2015 at 2:25 am

    vao wht a wonderful book it is to read carefully and think about this

  16. prema
    March 5, 2015 at 10:47 am

    good information thankyou

  17. Akanksha
    December 10, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Any idea about what is a Stealth virus??

    • manan
      January 3, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      A stealth virus is the 1 which camouflages or masks itself in order to remain undiscovered.It alters the file size and thus remains undetected by antiviruses..:)..btw vry nice web site..

    • sakina bohra
      February 22, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      they have the capability to hide from antivirus by making changes to file size or directory structure . they are anti-heuristic.

    • joy jackson
      March 3, 2015 at 6:40 pm

      a stealth virus hides itself by making an infected file appear not affected

  18. M.S. Smith
    March 7, 2011 at 8:45 am

    A resident virus isn't always a Trojan but a Trojan would be one example of such a virus. Most viruses today are of the resident type, IIRC.

  19. M.S. Smith
    January 9, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    The terms are always a bit vague by their nature. A Trojan might also be considered a worm if it self-replicates using software or hardware exploits; a worm might be a rootkit if it tries to hide itself by embedding into critical operating system files. The number of terms is why the general catch-all "malware" is often used to describe threats.

    As far as the signs to look for - unexplained CPU or network utilization, programs or web pages that open at random, and changes to programs that you don't remember approving are all signs of a malware threat.

  20. Robholyfield
    January 6, 2011 at 10:11 am

    I have always wondered about "rootkits" and have run a but few searches; however, they failed to help me understand. Maybe an article someday about rootkits, bots, worms and trojans with info on how they work and how to avoid them (other than antivirus SW and avoidind porn sites). Maybe something about if and how to recognize problems as early as possible between reg. sched. scans.

    • Aibek
      January 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm

      thanks for the input, we are going to do a few articles explaining rootkits and alike and how to avoid get infected.

    • M.S. Smith
      January 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm

      The terms are always a bit vague by their nature. A Trojan might also be considered a worm if it self-replicates using software or hardware exploits; a worm might be a rootkit if it tries to hide itself by embedding into critical operating system files. The number of terms is why the general catch-all "malware" is often used to describe threats.

      As far as the signs to look for - unexplained CPU or network utilization, programs or web pages that open at random, and changes to programs that you don't remember approving are all signs of a malware threat.

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