According to BullGuard, the quick answer to ‘how long does it take for a virus to infect a computer?’ depends on what the virus is and what it is programmed to do:
- Ransomware starts encrypting files within seconds of downloading onto your computer
- Some viruses can be timed to begin infecting your machine several days after being downloaded
- Other viruses can download in segments to try and avoid antivirus software. Only when the last piece downloads will its dubious deeds, commence
- A virus can also download via an email attachment, and it may start working immediately shutting down your computer
Viruses with consistent behaviour
Of course, not everything follows the same patterns and some types of viruses or malware are consistent in their behaviour, generally starting to act as soon as they download.
Examples of these are:
- Trojan horses don’t self-replicate, unlike traditional viruses. They act as a sneaky means for a hacker to gain access to someone’s computer to steal passwords and banking information. If you don’t run antivirus software, you might never know you are infected with a Trojan
- Spyware monitors a computer user’s activity, such as the websites they visit, without the user knowing anything about it
There’s always something new on the horizon
Computer viruses have been around for ages, and they’re continually evolving. Technological advances have not only helped create better security, but they’ve also helped virus creators develop newer strains using even more ingenious methods of infecting computers. It’s a continuous cat and mouse cycle.
It’s for that reason that it’s imperative you keep your systems protected. Of course, we’re not just talking PCs. You also have to consider laptops, tablets and your smartphone.