The Impact Of Computer Virus Attacks And It’s Preventive Mechanisms Among Personal Computer (PC) Users

Project and Seminar Material for Computer Science and Computer Engineering

The Impact Of Computer Virus Attacks And It’s Preventive Mechanisms Among Personal Computer (PC) Users


Abstract


A computer virus is a piece of software which attaches itself to another program causing undesirable effect on the program. It is attached similar to the way in which biological virus affect other organisms. The synonymous way it works with that of the human virus gave rise to the term computer virus. Computer viruses infect personal computers (PCs) and server. Some viruses create mere annoyance, but others can do serious damage: delete or change files, steal important information, load and run unwanted applications, send documents via electronic mail (e-mail) or even cripple a machines operating system (OS). Random sampling technique on respondents was performed while the data used for the study is collected from primary sources using a well-structured questionnaire. Data collected were logically analyzed using descriptive tool such as percentages and charts and inferential statistical tool such as chi-square. Based on the administered questionnaires the result indicated that viruses can infect computer system through a number of ways such as exchange of flash drive, hard disk and network medium.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

This research paper targets to find the factors which leads the virus attacks among personal computer users. Today’s society has seen a dramatic increase in the use of computers. As a result users of personal computer today need to have a comprehensive virus protection mechanisms to face the growing threats of computer viruses. Virus attacks on computer are more harmful that shows up more damage to the computer. It is important to analyze the actions that a virus performs in one’s system and also the activities that are possible to occur over time. This helps in protecting our PC with needful security mechanisms to safeguard the secure information. The purpose of this research paper is to introduce to the reader the threats that the computer viruses can create and provide guidelines on how individuals can protect themselves against these viruses. Nowadays many computer viruses are designed to self-replicate and self-install over a very short period of time. They come encoded with specific instructions to destroy and advance through its host computer, and can affect a multitude of programs and applications very quickly. Recognizing the symptoms of a computer virus can help to successfully remove it from the infected computer as quickly as possible; the sooner this is completed, the easier it will be to recover any documents or programs that may be damaged, and prevent the virus from further spreading. After identification of typical factors which leads to computer virus attacks the possible solutions are put forwarded to PC users to surmount this virus attacks and for their future improvement in computer usage.

1.1.1 Types and Ways of Computer Virus Attacks
Boot Sector Virus:

These types of viruses effect on the disk and the hard drive that holds small section referred as the sectors. Once the boot sector is attacked, they become infected when you reboot the system with the infected diskette it spreads through the hard drive.

Multipartite Viruses:

It is a form of hybrid boot sector program virus that affects the programming files. While the infected program is activated it hits the boot record. When the system is restarted it subsequently passes on the infection to other local drive in to computer scattering on the virus to the other programming files instantly.

Macro Viruses:

Infects a Microsoft Word or similar application and causes a sequence of actions to be performed automatically when the application is started or something else triggers it. A typical effect is the undesired insertion of some comic text at certain points when writing a line.

Stealth Viruses:

Have the characteristic of hiding and usually changes file sizes to escape detection. A virus with stealth attributes tends to be found in a boot sector or a program file. Stealth viruses cover their trails by two techniques. The first is to redirect disk reads to other locations and the second technique is making a change in boot tables.

Program Virus:

The program virus is kept hidden in the flies or documents, once they are activated or called, they start infecting the system by copying the virus to other files and replicating to the system.

Polymorphic Virus:

The Polymorphic virus behaves like a chameleon that changes its virus signature frequently once they get multiplied and ready to affect the next new-fangled file. It is also referred to as binary pattern.

FAT virus:

It is a computer virus which attacks the file allocation table (FAT), a system used in Microsoft products and some other types of computer systems to access the information stored on a computer.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The threat of attack by computer viruses is in reality a very big problem specifically attacks aimed at subverting computer security. This paper examines computer viruses as malicious logic in a research and development environment, relates them to various models of security and integrity, and examines current research techniques aimed at controlling the threats viruses in particular, and malicious logic in general, pose to computer systems. Finally, a brief examination of the vulnerabilities of research and development systems that malicious logic and computer viruses may exploit is undertaken.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

Uncertainty prevailed about the results of computer virus infections among computer users. It was decided therefore, to determine to what degree personal computer users have experienced problems with their stored information due to virus infections on their computers. If any problem was experienced, the environment in which they occurred would be simulated in a controlled experiment, to determine the actual effect of the virus infections. If any real risks were identified, recommendations to minimize or eliminate them would be made.

Specific objectives include:

  1. To determine what effect computer viruses have had on computerized information among personal computer users.
  2. To identify, in controlled laboratory tests, the degree of danger that some of these viruses pose to stored information.
  3. To reach conclusions based upon the results of the laboratory tests.
  4. To suggest a disinfection procedure for the computer users.

1.4 Scope of the Study

This study revolves around personal computer users and their files stored in the system. It studies how virus attack influences their computer usage and solutions which when implemented guides against virus infection and recovers already infected file.


1.5 Significance of the Study

This study is will be of immense help to everyone who has personal computer and connects to a network. It will guide against computer infection and gives protection against virus. It will also be useful to every computer user in general and the whole world at large.


1.6 Definition of Terms

Virus Attacks:

The process in which maliciously written programs infect a computer in order to gain unauthorized access to information and corrupt a file.

Virus Detection:

Getting rid of virus infection from a computer

PC:

Abbreviation for personal computer


Chapter Five


Implications and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

The implications of the findings of this research are addressed, some recommendations made to the computer user in industry, and suggestions for further study are noted.


5.2 Implications of Findings

Certain computer users are more susceptible to suffer loss of stored information due to computer virus infections than others. To take precautions against the loss of any stored information, PC users must

  1. Have access to the master disks of all the programs executed on a regular basis.
  2. Make regular backup of at least data files.
  3. Use a recent version of a legal anti-viral program
  4. Understand the basic operation of computer viruses (i.e. the four types and method of infection).
  5. Understand the layout of a DOS disk (i.e. sectors, tracks, cylinders, sides, partitions).
  6. Know and be able to use a disk utility program (e.g. Norton Utilities, PCTools).

5.3 Recommendations

It is recommended that the average PC user in the industry follow the set of guidelines below. This will minimize the risk of loosing information as a result of computer virus infection.

  1. Use original legal software
  2. Make regular backups of especially data files (use BACKUP and RESTORE, or even COPY, DISKCOPY or XCOPY).
  3. Use write-protection on disk where possible.
  4. Use logical write-protection (the DOS ATTRIB command, for example) to set all program files to read only.
  5. Minimize the use of disks on different PC’s including maintenance personnel using their own disks.
  6. Obtain and use a recent version of a reliable anti-virus program and arrange for regular updates
  7. Check all new software with this program before installing or using it.
  8. If it is impractical to train all users on anti-virus software, utility programs and the operation of viruses, train al least one support specialist
  9. Be aware of the characteristic symptoms cause by the most popular viruses
  10. Do not boot a hard drive PC from a disk without a good reason.

5.4 Summary

The results of this study amongst users in the business world are in line with findings of a study by Koo (2000), aimed at the academic community which found that: “… the people at greatest risk of computer virus infection are those college students who use a computer every day nut have minimal knowledge about computer viruses
Technical mistakes in widely read articles also confirm this general lack of insight into the layout and operation of disks and computers in general. Since this research was aimed at the average PC user and no the computer scientist, the results will be especially useful to the former group. A non-technical user should form a clear picture of the potential threat, or lack thereof, posed by a given virus. The value of anti-viral as well as utility-type program is also evident from the research.


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