How do computers catch viruses?

Ron Ayers October 23, 2010

Could my Windows computer get a virus just by being on? No programs or web browser open.

  1. Random-junkmail
    December 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    to answer the question  directly,if your pc is clean of virus's & malware then the machine sitting idle (online) isn't very prone to  suddenly 'catching 'anything.if you have a firewall blocking your ports effectively you'll be fine.i often times disable my antivirus and malware programs but leave my firewall active when i burn music or data,(to ensure that no running programs create lag or ticks,pops,etc during burning).after i'm finished i immediately activate my stuff./used to be i'd simply disconnect rom the internet to burn cdrw's but it hit me that if att dsl service changed my ip number while my modem's off i might have a reconnect problem to deal with..and i hate pc problems of ANY kind/

  2. Jean Chicoine
    November 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Switch to Linux. It's a very secure OS. Or Mac Apple, if you got the money. It's as secure as Linux. Compare to these two Windows is a wide-open house.

  3. Kaal Dewar
    October 25, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Sneaky Bluetooth piggyback.

  4. Jack Cola
    October 25, 2010 at 7:01 am

    A small list of ways how your computer can get a virus:

    1. Simply being connected to a home network
    2. Connecting to an untrusted wifi network
    3. Being connected to the internet
    4. You install software on your computer
    5. You insert a CD/DVD, USB Stick, Card Reader into your computer
    6. You plug a USB device such as a Printer, or something else like a TV tuner
    7. Let other people use your computer

    Basically, the only way is to prevent your computer from getting a virus is to:
    1. Install the Operating System that you purchase from Microsoft on hardware you purchased yourself
    2. Don't use your computer,
    2a, don't install any software
    2b, dont connect to a network, plug anything into it

    Although with the above, it is unlikely to get one, but it can happen.

    • Rapicaso
      October 25, 2010 at 8:20 am

      don't touch your computer at all then it'll not catch any virus

  5. Samuel Gonzalez
    October 25, 2010 at 3:46 am

    By definition a virus is any malware, also an anti virus can say a file is a Trojan when it's really not.

    So in other words you can. Either worm which you don't have to do anything to get it. Or by opening a fake file in you email that turn off your firewall protection and infects you and could also take control of you PC.

    Or finally you visit an adult website or download adult movies and possibly get infected.

    So remember practice safe browsing use an anti virus.

  6. Anonymous
    October 25, 2010 at 1:28 am

    I find questions like this kinda funny thanks to one idiot who accused my friend(Owns a AMC and HW peripherals shop) for the virus his PC had.
    Apparently one of the engineers had opened the rooms window for ventilation, where this idiot had his PC. So he calls my friends and says, "I had told your engineer not to open the rooms window, now see my PC has a caught a virus". I lmao and shouted while this idiot was on the other line,"Ask him which virus is it a common cold, flu or something else"

  7. Gmony
    October 24, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Computers,and technology is getting the edge on this..Mainly with Vista,and Win 7..most of my virus fixes are on XP long as there are XP systems out there(which is still quite ALOT) I will still have a job..The main thing Folks,make sure your Firewall is ON,and ALWAYS update the definitions(Virus/Spyware)..and Run Them.

  8. Egzon Bunjaku
    October 24, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Well, it depends on how is your current Windows OS situation.. if you installed applications before, and now even if you are not using it the running apps would connect on internet to install an update or something like that... but if your Windows OS is clean it is impossible to get a virus on your machine if you are not using it...

  9. Kashanhadi
    October 24, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    opening unknown e-mails, downloading games or other things from websites. When someone opens a unkown e-mail, it instantly send that virus to the previous people that you have e-mailed. A virus is just about a never ending chain.

  10. Anonymous
    October 24, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    If you check email then possible this si a way to malware. If you have open port then rootkits can invade you - Open Port Check Tool

    Backing up infected files, is a common source of reinfection if they are restored to your computer.

    your machine may still be vulnerable to attacks if you never bother to uninstall or remove older versions of the software...a malicious site could simply render Java content under older, vulnerable versions of Sun's software if the user has not removed them

    PDF sample that exploits an unpatched vulnerability in Adobe Reader and Acrobat has been spotted in the wild. The sample (detected by Trend Micro as TROJ_PIDIEF.WIA) uses the heap spray technique to execute shellcode in its stream. As a result, a malicious file detected as BKDR_POISON.UC is dropped into the system

    Hackers have released malware which could be used to take over Windows PCs that lack the latest Microsoft security patches, utilising two separate bugs in Windows Media Player

    Infections can spread via a flash drive (usb, pen, thumb, jump). This type of infection usually involve malware that modifies/loads an autorun.inf (text-based configuration) file into the root folder of all drives (internal, external, removable) along with a malicious executable. When removable media such as a CD/DVD is inserted (mounted), autorun looks for autorun.inf and automatically executes the malicious file to run silently on your computer. For flash drives and other USB storage, autorun.ini uses the Windows Explorer's right-click context menu so that the standard "Open" or "Explore" command starts the file. Malware modifies the context menu (adds a new default command) and redirects to executing the malicious file if the "Open" command is used or double-clicking on the drive icon. When a flash drive becomes infected, the Trojan will infect a system when the removable media is inserted if autorun has not been disabled. Therefore, keeping autorun enabled on USB and other removable drives has become a significant security risk as they are one of the most common infection vectors for malware which can transfer the infection to your computer.

  11. M.S. Smith
    October 23, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Yes, possibly.

    There are many potential methods of infection. Most people know that a virus can infect their computer if they download an infected file. However, viruses can also infect your computer by opening documents that come from seemingly mundane sources, including .pdf files on websites.

    Even if you leave your computer sitting at idle, it might catch a virus via a worm, which is a self-propagating virus that is usually tries to replicate itself by spamming copies of itself to random I.P. addresses. Once it attacks, the worm tries to enter using a vulnerability in your computer's networking code. If it succeeds, it then begins using your computer to spam more random copies of itself.

    You can negate almost all of the risk, however, by using a firewall and keeping Windows up to date. The vulnerabilities worms attack are usually unveiled quickly and then patched.

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