Software Virus Protection.

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Software Virus Protection


There are many versions of Software Virus Protection on the market including MacAfee, Symantec and Norton, used by both individuals and businesses to protect their computer systems and all the information held on them, against attacks by viruses.

In order to know how an anti-virus program works it is important to firstly know what a virus is and what effect it can have! Then it is important to know what types of anti-virus programs there are on the market, how these work, and what the advantages and disadvantages there are to each of these.

What is a Virus?

A virus is a small self-contained computer program or file designed with malicious intent, to run while the user is unaware and infect hard drives and floppy disks, before often copying itself usually to spread to other computers. Viruses can be spread over the internet, through emails or they can be embedded in files on floppy disks and CD ROMs, which can then be transmitted to the user’s computer system and then onto a network of computers.

There are several different types of viruses:

  • Email Viruses– “These are transported via email messages, and usually replicate by automatically sending themselves to all email addresses in the recipients address book”. ‘They don’t usually cause physical damage to files on the recipients hard drive, but work by ‘clogging up’ and then overloading mail servers and networks through sheer force of numbers.  This virus will usually be in the form of an email attachment and the attachment usually has to be opened before the virus can work, but some viruses will automatically start replicating and sending itself to the names in the recipients address book’. (Source: Beginners Guide To Computer Viruses.
  • Worms- “A worm is a small computer program that has the ability to copy itself from machine to machine, by exploiting security holes in computer networks. Whenever the worm detects an unprotected machine, it copies itself to that machine and the process starts again. The worm can replicate itself very quickly. Like email viruses, their main aim is to ‘clog up’ and overload networks, but they do sometimes do physical damage to computers”. (Source: Beginners Guide To Computer Viruses.
  • True Viruses- These viruses “bear the closest resemblance to their biological namesakes”. They have two main purposes. Purpose one been “they want to proliferate around the internet”. ‘This is most commonly achieved by the virus sending itself to everyone in a recipients address book’ similar to the email virus. ‘Its second purpose is, similarly to other viruses, it wants the user to know that their system is infected, so it starts to change files on their computer. This can result in a whole range of outcomes from minor repairable damage to complete system failure’. (Source: Computer Viruses.
  • Trojans or Trogan Horse Viruses- These viruses are programs that are pretending to be useful but are “designed to reside on a host computer unseen, creating a security breach, which another virus can then exploit”. (Source: Computer Viruses.
  •  Boot Viruses- These “alter the code needed to start a floppy or hard drive”. (Source: Email Viruses Explained. Graham Haynes.
  • Prelauncher Viruses- These viruses “rename original files and replace them with own code. When the program is launched, the virus takes control, does its business in the background and then passes control back to the original file.  (Source: Email Viruses Explained. Graham Haynes.
  • Link Viruses- These viruses “attach themselves to other files and duplicate across whole networks this way”. (Source: Email Viruses Explained. Graham Haynes.
  • Logic Bombs- These will trigger an often destructive, sequence given an event, such as the date being set to a certain date.
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Many recent email viruses have been both Trojan Houses and Worms!

Anti-virus Software

‘All anti-virus programs have one thing in common, which is, that they all look for patterns in the files or memory of your computer that indicate the possible presence of a known virus. Antivirus packages know what to look for through the use of virus profiles (sometimes called "signatures") provided by the vendor’, which are normally downloadable from the internet to make sure that the most up to date profiles get to computers quickly before new viruses have time to attack or do serious damage. ...

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