Computer viruses rank as one of the most common cyber threats facing businesses today. As you may know, computer viruses are malware that are characterized by their ability to self-replicate. If your computer becomes infected with a virus, it may spread to other computers and devices on your business’s network. With that said, there are self-modifying computer viruses that are particularly harmful. What is a self-modifying computer virus exactly?
The Basics of Self-Modifying Computer Viruses
A self-modifying computer virus is a form of malware that’s able to both replicate itself and modify itself. All computer viruses can replicate themselves. Self-replication is essentially what distinguishes computer viruses from other forms of malware. Self-modifying computer viruses, though, go one step further. In addition to replicating themselves, they can modify their own malicious code.
How Self-Modifying Computer Viruses Work
You might be wondering how self-modifying computer viruses work. There are two types of self-modifying computer viruses: polymorphic and metamorphic. The former type works by decrypting its code and then re-encrypting its code with a different key. The latter type works by propagating its code differently.
Both polymorphic and metamorphic computer viruses are designed to modify their code during an infection. When one of these viruses infects your computer, the virus’s code will change. Polymorphic self-modifying viruses are simply more complex because they use an encryption algorithm to perform this task.
Tips to Protect Against Self-Modifying Computer Viruses
You can protect your business from self-modifying computer viruses in several ways. Using the right antivirus software, for instance, will lower your risk of infection. Self-modifying computer viruses can, in fact, avoid detection with many antivirus products. When they change their code, they may go undetected. The good news is that there are plenty of advanced and high-quality antivirus products that are capable of detecting them — even after a self-modifying computer virus has changed its code.
If you regularly use the internet for work-related purposes, consider downloading a pop-up blocker. Pop-up blockers don’t just protect against intrusive ads; they can protect against computer viruses and other forms of malware as well. Many self-modifying computer viruses are served through pop-ups. With a pop-up blocker, they won’t be able to reach your computer.
A firewall can protect your business from self-modifying computer viruses. Firewalls are filtering applications. They sit between your business’s network and the internet. Once installed, a firewall will check incoming and outgoing data packets for signs of malware.