Plagued by Boot Infectors?
Has your computer been dragging as of late? All of a sudden you can't access certain files or programs - your system keeps crashing. If so, you just may have a malicious program controlling the system from the internal sectors of your computer - you just may have contracted a boot infector, a virus that has compromised thousands of computers.
Boot infectors go by many different aliases: boot sector infectors, boot record infectors, boot viruses and system viruses. Regardless of the name, they are rather common and can be very destructive. A boot infector attacks the critical section of a floppy disk or hard drive that helps to start your computer. When the computer starts up, the malicious code is launched by the system and your machine becomes wide open to virus coders. The deployment of the infection gives them sort of a guarantee for future attacks. With enough skill, an intruder can obtain complete control over your system and take what ever actions they desire.
Like all viruses, a boot infector functions with the intend of spreading the infection throughout the host system. It usually copies itself to a sector and creates bad sectors along with it's malicious code. It then attempts to execute itself when the computer is booted and claim control as the system continues to run. Some are able to trap other types of boot request such as "CTRL, ATL, DEL", allowing the virus to remain in control even when the system is booted by a non-infective floppy disk. This results in the clean copy becoming instantly infected.
The Pakistani Brain virus is one of the most popular boot infectors This infection has been upgraded in a way that enables it to easily infect hard disks, completely destroy FAT entries, numerous files, and terribly slow down the performance of a computer.
Effects on Windows
Microsoft Windows is known for being more vulnerable to computer viruses and other exploits. In fact, many of the infections commonly used today were specifically coded for Windows platforms. In many instances, a file infector such as a resident virus can prevent an older DOS system from starting at all. When this occurs, the victim will typically have knowledge of the problem. From there they can make an attempt with virus removal software, though taking the machine to a technician would probably be the best move.
However, a Windows system that contracts a boot infector will behave quite differently and is susceptible to great damage. With a boot virus, the operating system will not only start, but spread the infection from within Windows. Because of subtle movement, it may be a good while before a user learns they have contracted a boot infection. The computer will often start up without flaw and function as expected for sometime. Eventually, the virus will distribute itself to numerous sectors and slowly begin a wave of infection. Without a reliable anti-virus program, the victim will typically have no knowledge of the infection and see no need to get rid of it.