Watch the evening news, and there’s a good chance that you’ll hear a story about the latest health scare as well as the latest computer virus and the terrible problems it’s causing for people. As it turns out, human viruses like cold and flu have quite a bit in common with computer viruses.
Similar Actions, Similar Defenses
You might already know that biological viruses target specific host cells inside the body, attaching to them and causing infection. Computer viruses also infect specific targets; however, since your tablet or phone has no DNA, these viruses attach to files hidden deep inside your device.
Once inside the human body, a virus has an incubation period during which it is busy infecting cells without your knowledge. Something similar happens with computer viruses, trojan horses, and other technical bad guys – your computer works normally, and you have no idea that it has been attacked.
Just like human viruses vary in severity, so do computer viruses. Some of these quietly gather information about you and your activities, hobbies, and preferences; the information is typically used for marketing purposes. Sometimes your personal details are sold and you become a target for spammers and scammers.
Other computer viruses act like a terrible case of the flu – or something even worse – the kind of illness that completely knocks you out, makes you feel terrible, and prevents you from participating in daily life. These computer viruses can steal bank information and other details; still others, known as ransomware, hijack your device and force you to pay a premium to get access to your information and recover your files.
While some human and computer viruses are very weak or even latent and don’t really cause illness, cost you money, or cause much damage, most of them bring trouble. You’ve probably experienced symptoms like a sore throat, cough, and body aches when sick; your device shows symptoms like significantly slower performance or even corrupt data. Both are very stressful, and both can lead to lost productivity and worse problems.
Both human and computer viruses spread from one host to the other, and anyone (or any device) that’s not protected is a potential target. Fortunately, we and our electronic devices have access to solid, reliable defense systems. Just like your body’s immune system and vitamins that can protect your health from the latest strain of the flu virus, antivirus apps software protect your devices from nasty, web-borne bugs. According to some, we’re at a stage where our phones are not only able to understand our bodies, but in the near future will also be able to communicate directly with cells within our bodies.
Just like human viruses are lying in wait in a variety of environments, computer viruses are everywhere – constantly trying get around security measures so that they can access personal information, financial details, and more. The takeaway? It’s a good idea to look after your health by strengthening your immune system, practicing good hygiene, and avoiding contact with people who are sick. Be sure to keep your devices and security apps up to date, too.