How to Get a Computer Virus
This wikiHow teaches you how to test your computer's antivirus program with a fake virus, as well as how to use poor browsing and security habits to contract a computer infection. Keep in mind that actually getting a virus on your computer is incredibly risky, and can result in the computer failing to work, loss of personal information, and even legal ramifications.
Using a Test Virus
Make sure that your antivirus software is active.In order for the test virus to be detected, you'll want your computer's antivirus program running. Keep in mind that the test virus isn't actually a virus, so it won't harm your computer.
- On Windows, you have a program called Windows Defender that should be on by default.
- On Mac, you'll need to use a third-party antivirus program like Malwarebytes or AVG.
Open the EICAR website.Go to in your computer's browser. EICAR is a European IT security firm that, among other things, helps IT departments test their networks' security measures.
Click theANTI-MALWARE TESTFILEtab.It's in the dark-blue banner that's near the top of the page. Doing so opens the EICAR disclaimer.
- You can read through this disclaimer and explanation of use before proceeding if you have any questions about how the test virus should be used.
ClickDOWNLOAD.This purple button is in the upper-left corner of the page. Clicking it takes you to a page from which you can download the EICAR test file.
Scroll down to the "Download" section.It's near the bottom of the page.
Click aneicar.comlink.You can click theeicar.comlink in either the "Download area using the standard protocol http" section or the "Download area using the secure, SSL enabled protocol https" section. The file will attempt to download.
Wait for the file to download.It may take several seconds to begin downloading. If the file successfully makes it to your computer's "Downloads" location, you will most likely see a pop-up warning you that a malicious file was detected.
- If you're on a Windows computer and your Windows Defender antivirus is enabled, the file won't even be allowed to download. You can circumvent this by re-downloading the file several times in quick succession, clicking theWindows Defenderpop-up notification, clicking the name of the file in the "Current threats" section, checking the "Allow on device" box, clickingStart actions, and clickingAllowwhen prompted.
Run an antivirus scan.If the file still hasn't been picked up by your antivirus program, manually scan for threats from within your antivirus program. This will usually cause the file to be found, quarantined, and removed from your computer.
- If your antivirus scan still won't pick up the file, you should invest in a different antivirus program.
Getting Infected on Purpose
Ensure that your computer is in a secure environment.Viruses are designed to spread, and it is irresponsible to test viruses on a computer that is not isolated from the internet at large. Ensure that your test environment is contained so that the viruses you are testing cannot spread to computers that you don't want infected.
- You'll also want to make sure that your computer doesn't have any sensitive information (e.g., credit card numbers, social security identification, payment records, etc.) on it just in case your virus is able to copy the contents of your hard drive.
- Make sure that the computer or computers you are testing on are not connected to the Internet when you open an infected file.
- For greater security, test viruses using a virtual machine on a physical computer that is not connected to the internet.
Understand the risks and legality.Infecting your own computer can jeopardize your data and personal information, and if your computer is connected to the internet or other computers on a network, you run the risk of infecting others.
- Intentionally infecting someone's computer with a virus is illegal in most countries.
- If you are trying to test your antivirus software, it is strongly recommended that you use the test file in the .
Connect your computer directly to the internet.Most routers contain hardware firewalls that can help protect your computer. For maximum vulnerability, you should connect your modem directly to your computer via an Ethernet cable, which will bypass the router's security.
Disable your computer's Firewall.The Firewall service acts as a built-in threat deterrent, so disabling it will allow unauthorized programs to access your computer.
- In some cases, disabling your computer's Firewall will also allow unauthorized users to gain access to your network.
Disable or uninstall your antivirus.Most antivirus programs do an admirable job of catching the majority of viruses, so you'll want to disable or remove your antivirus software completely before trying to infect the computer.
Visit internet security communities.There are a variety of communities online dedicated to testing internet security, and you may be able to find links to known viruses in the community discussions. One of the most popular internet security (NetSec) communities is the NetSec subreddit. You can find a variety of discussions and links to sites containing specific viruses.
Download files with known viruses.One of the most popular ways for viruses to be spread is through pirated media and software. Look for "cracks" or "serials" for popular programs that require a file to be run. These files often contain viruses that execute when your run the crack program.
Click on shady banners and advertisements.Many advertisements—especially ones about enhancement-based drugs or services—redirect to shady sites which house viruses.
Download attachments from spam emails.Open your email'sSpamorJunkfolder, then open an email from an unknown sender and look for a download button or link.
- Sometimes simply opening a spam email will be enough to contract a virus.
- For some spam emails, you'll have to click a link in the email to prompt a virus file to download.
Download screensaver files.Screensavers are traditionally some of the most infected files around, especially when downloaded from untrustworthy sources (e.g., torrenting websites).
- This method will typically only work for Windows computers, as the screensaver (.scr) files will usually only be executable on a Windows computer.
Get rid of the virus when your test is complete.In extreme cases, you may have to erase your computer's hard drive and reinstall the operating system to wipe out all traces of the virus.
QuestionCan WiFi get a virus?Aaron NCommunity AnswerAlthough viruses can infect your device via WiFi, It is extremely unlikely that a WiFi router could get a computer virus. Even though it is rare, it is important to update your firmware to prevent this from happening. Your WiFi can, however, be modified by hackers if they know or guessed the password.Thanks!
QuestionCan Gmail cause a virus?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGmail itself can't cause a virus, but if you open a shady email (most likely, most of the ones in your spam folder) and click a link in it, you can get infected with a virus.Thanks!
QuestionWhy do I need to click on ads to get a virus?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMost ads are full of malware, adware and trackers. This is one of the easiest ways to get a virus on your computer.Thanks!
QuestionAre there good viruses?Kristian818Community AnswerNo. Not at all. The purpose of a virus is to wreck havok or earn money off of you.Thanks!
QuestionWhy can't I do method two with updated versions?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNon-updated software has security issues (ab)used by some malware. Updated versions often fix those issues.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I get rid of a virus?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDownload malware-bytes or any other anti-virus program. If you're running a scan and it shuts down and you can't open it up again you probably have a rootkit. There are some ways you can bypass that, but it's easiest to just reinstall Windows (if you're using Windows).Thanks!
QuestionCan tablets get viruses?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, viruses have been written to target tablets and phones. Check the app store for your device to find suitable virus scanning/protection software, most of which is free.Thanks!
QuestionCan Androids get viruses?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, even iOS devices can get viruses, although it is rare. Androids are usually targeted more because Android devices allow you to install apps anywhere. Just disable unknown sources, and you'll increase your security tenfold. To be really safe, get a good antivirus like ESET for free to scan apps from the Play Store.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I block viruses?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can easily block viruses from entering your computer system by installing antivirus software and being mindful about what email attachments and files you open (even if they are from friends). Also, don't click on any shady ads, which are another way viruses can infect your computer.Thanks!
QuestionWhere could I get a virus that infects android in the network?Kristian818Community AnswerWherever there might be one planted. In an app. On a public internet connection. On a website. The question should rather be where can you not get a virus.Thanks!
- The built-in Windows Defender program is the best antivirus option for Windows users.
- Visiting websites that host illegal content can get you in trouble with your local police, or, in extreme cases, the FBI.
- Intentionally infecting a computer that you do not own is illegal in most areas. Even downloading a virus onto your own computer runs the risk of unwittingly infecting other computers, either through the network, through email, or even over a USB drive.
- You are risking your information and privacy by downloading viruses. Not all antivirus programs can remove every virus.
Sources and Citations
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