Any business, no matter how big or small, that uses computers on a daily basis will need some form of antivirus software to protect the device from viruses, malware, spam attacks and any other cyber threats.
These days, viruses are smarter and more harmful than ever – they can even damage a computer to the point of no repair. So, as most companies are predominantly digital, it’s vitally important that the right antivirus software and computer security is set up quickly and correctly.
Here, we’ll take a deeper look into the different types of viruses, where they can come from and how an antivirus product will help to protect your business.
What is a Virus?
To take it back to basics, a computer virus is a malicious program that spreads and replicates itself. The virus will be able to modify other computer programs and insert its own code, which will corrupt the system. If the replication is successful, the affected area is officially ‘infected’.
Viruses typically have many different functions, which can include:
- Making a computer run slowly.
- Damaging parts of the system.
- Stealing personal details
- Sending unauthorised messages
Causing billions worth of economic damage every year, computer viruses can be detrimental to your business. Wondering where they come from? Well, they’re written by highly skilled programmers who work to exploit vulnerable spots in the computer’s security to damage or steal information or even money.
Of course, not all viruses are made with bad intentions, some simply want to prove to themselves and to others that they can create and spread a virus. This often results in annoying pop-ups rather than actual damage.
What are the Different Types of Viruses?
When it comes to viruses, there are 4 main types that aim to corrupt your computer. Some are easier to get rid of than others, but being able to identify them will go a long way in the fight to resolve them.
- Boot sector virus – this is an old type of virus that used to focus on floppy disks. As we don’t use them anymore, they can instead pop up on USB drives and in email attachments. It infects the storage devices’ master boot record or hard disks and will run the infected code when the system starts.
- Resident virus – a very tricky type of virus to get rid of as they install themselves on a computer, which allows them to work even when the original source has been removed. Resident viruses either cause as much damage as quickly as possible or take it slow, so it’s harder for people to recognise.
- Macro virus – this virus uses common applications that most businesses will use daily, such as Microsoft Outlook and Word, to embed themselves into documents and emails. This means that the virus will automatically run whenever the document is opened and why you should never open an unexpected or suspicious email attachment.
Direct action virus – this type of virus will attach itself to a particular type of file rather than hide in the computer’s memory. So, when someone opens that file, the virus then looks for similar files it can spread to. This can potentially prevent some of your files from being accessible
How do Antivirus Products Work?
Antivirus software is designed to detect, quarantine or delete any malicious code and prevent malware from causing damage or infecting your device in the first place. This type of software often runs quietly in the background, checking every single file you open and comparing it to known viruses. They also run system scans to ensure that no viruses are hidden on your computer.
Many modern antivirus programs will update themselves automatically too, which helps to protect against any new viruses or malware. If your antivirus does detect something malicious within your files, it will usually stop the file from running and quarantine it. Then, you can decide whether to delete it (unless the program already does that for you) or, if you believe it to be a false detection, run the program.
While you may consider yourself to be computer savvy, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and invest in a decent antivirus software.
Why is Antivirus Software Important for Businesses?
As a business, you’ll no doubt have hundreds, even thousands, of details about your employees, clients, and the business itself that needs to be confidential. Using antivirus software to protect your computers from viruses and hackers is essential to keeping any data and your business safe. It’s important to remember that once your system has been corrupted, it’s very rare you’ll be able to get it back unscathed.
Viruses can greatly damage your reputation as a business too if they expose personal client data or send unauthorised emails to contacts in an attempt to spread the virus further. So, it’s better to have an antivirus system in place that can detect and prevent any virus attacks from happening, rather than spending time and money trying to repair an infected machine and, potentially, build your reputation back up again.
Take a look at our business software solutions for more information on the types of software needed for small, medium and large companies.
If you need help and advice on which type of security software and antivirus programs are best suited to your businesses, contact our team.