Computer viruses are a particularly harmful form of malware because of their ability to replicate. Like microbial viruses, they can replicate while subsequently spreading to other files, networks and devices. Some computer viruses, however, can also destroy data when replicating. Known as an overwrite computer virus, they spread while leaving a trail of damage in their their wake.

The Basics of Computer Overwrite Viruses

A computer overwrite virus is a form of self-replicating malware that deletes data as it spreads. All computer viruses can self-replicate. After all, that’s what distinguishes them from other forms of malware. With that said, computer overwrite viruses delete data on the victim’s computer as well.

Why Computer Overwrite Viruses Are a Problem

All computer viruses — and other forms of malware for that matter — are a problem because they are designed for malicious purposes. Computer overwrite viruses, though, pose a significant threat due to their ability to delete data.

If your computer is infected with an overwrite virus, you may lose some of the data stored on it. Whenever the overwrite virus replicates itself, it will delete some of your data. They are called “overwrite viruses” because they overwrite your computer’s original data when replacing themselves. If an overwrite virus spreads to a file containing sensitive data about your business’s customers, you’ll lose that data. Instead, it will be replaced with the virus’s code.

Aside from losing data, overwrite viruses can slow down your computer. They can consume system resources while also causing conflicts with your computer’s existing programs. When this occurs, your computer may run slower, or it may even crash. Of course, the biggest threat posed by overwrite viruses is the loss of data, but they can still cause performance issues nonetheless.

How to Protect Against Computer Overwrite Viruses

You can protect against computer overwrite viruses by using antivirus software. Antivirus software doesn’t discriminate when targeting viruses. Assuming you use a high-quality antivirus program, it will catch most if not all types of computer viruses, including overwrite viruses.

Overwrite viruses are malicious programs, so they usually require downloading for an infection to happen. Therefore, you should be cautious when downloading files over the internet. Whether it’s from a website or in an email, don’t download any files without verifying their authenticity.

Computer viruses come in many different forms. Overwrite viruses are defined by their ability to delete data when replacing themselves. They self-replicate like all other computer viruses, but they also delete data during this process.