The Easy Answer:
A computer virus is a program that runs on your computer that has malicious intent.
The Plane Speak Answer:
A computer virus is a program that has a specific job. Typically its job is to collect information about you or open up additional security breaches in your computer that allows a foreign actor the ability to collect or control the data that comes to or leaves your computer.
The Angry Answer:
A program written by an ass.
The Wiki Answer:
A computer virus is a type of malicious software program (“malware“) that, when executed, replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and inserting its own code. Infected computer programs can include, as well, data files, or the “boot” sector of the hard drive. When this replication succeeds, the affected areas are then said to be “infected” with a computer virus.
The Technobabble Answer:
Virus writers use social engineering deceptions and exploit detailed knowledge of security vulnerabilities to initially infect systems and to spread the virus. The vast majority of viruses target systems running Microsoft Windows, employing a variety of mechanisms to infect new hosts, and often using complex anti-detection/stealth strategies to evade antivirus software. Motives for creating viruses can include seeking profit (e.g., with ransomware), desire to send a political message, personal amusement, to demonstrate that a vulnerability exists in software, for sabotage and denial of service, or simply because they wish to explore cybersecurity issues, artificial life and evolutionary algorithms.
The Halloween Answer:
It was a dark and stormy night you sit alone at your computer looking for parts on Craigslist.
A mysterious pop-up appears on your screen asking you a simple question…. Do you have a problem with your PC? This is Microsoft and we’re here to help!
You click on the link believing that you’re safe….. Microsoft is here to help you after all.
Little do you know that the monster on the other end isn’t preparing to help you, they are intending on stealing your information and your money.
They slowly creep into your computer using a remote service program… they begin to take control of your mouse and keyboard and begin showing you terrifying images in screens and tell you stories of how people are stealing your information.
The final nail in the coffin is the fact that they’re fairly certain they can fix all the things that are wrong with your computer for only $400… Little do you know that after you pay your $400 they will leave you hanging sometimes locking your PC so you can never use it again…. (Insert Their Evil Laugh Here)
So now you know, Don’t Panic
No matter how you define a computer virus they are definitely something that has malicious intent and is looking to do bad things to you and your computer.
Thankfully computer viruses don’t have to be a scary thing, if you don’t panic and take proactive steps they are something that is very easily fixable.
It should always go without saying that a good defense is always an up-to-date Anti-virus. Meaning if you do have anti-virus keep it up-to-date.
The more up-to-date your anti-viruses the better the chance it will actually protect your computer.
And if you are infected first and foremost don’t panic turn off your PC and give a call to the computer guy I’ve been doing this for years and I have had incredibly good luck in removing viruses and keeping your data safe.
Plus every time your computer leaves my office I double check to make sure not only is your antivirus up-to-date and working but if you don’t have one I will also install a free real-time protection antivirus that I love to recommend called forticlient.
Don’t let viruses ruin your day!