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The Payload Effect Of Virus

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Table of contents

  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. How a data file virus causes destruction
  4. Terror for a network
  5. The root of all evil
  6. Backdoor Access Activity
  7. Conclusion
  8. References


Viruses are a very important topic among technology users, especially computer users. Viruses have many different intended functions. I will be covering virus payloads and what areas these viruses’ effect. Data files (delete or collect), spreading across multiple computers, spam email that contains different types of viruses, and viruses that enable backdoor access. Data files is where my focus will be during my research. Every computer has files stored on to them, whether that is personal information or business information, this is a hacker’s dream. They want to get any information they can get and use it against you or to their best advantage. For individuals or companies to be aware of this intent and protect their data is crucial. How to mitigate the spread of viruses across a network is important, if you can limit damage to one computer it is easier to handle and solve the issue instead of having to focus on the entirety of a network. Spam email looks like a normal email with an attachment but once opened you have released a potential virus onto your computer, ways to look out for this will be included. Backdoor access is a tricky area. Because it hides its’ presence from the operating system while doing malicious activity and collecting what it wants, I will research ways to mitigate these risks and how to notice if you have potentially allowed someone backdoor access. I will also be giving a brief history of earlier viruses to show how far these viruses have progressed from when they initially hit the scene


Computer viruses have been a part of the technological industry since 1971 and has only been a growing issue since. In 1985, a new operating system was launched called “Windows” and Windows has now became one of the most popular used operating systems worldwide. The first windows virus hit the scene in April 1992, it attacked on replays of Denial of Service interruptions and continued to replicate itself. Viruses in today’s industry are broad, an estimated 100,000 viruses are known about today. Viruses are a tool for cyber criminals to access your information, system, and many other intended functions. While the typical computer user does not understand viruses and their intended functions, damage capabilities. Viruses can do many things, such as, delete or collect data files, spreading across multiple computers, spam email that contains different types of viruses, and viruses that enable backdoor access.

How a data file virus causes destruction

First and foremost, data file viruses are unique. When an average user hears about a data file virus, they often think all their files are in danger. Although one-fifth of all files are unprotected, Stas Bekman indicates a data file virus only spread throughout executable files, therefore, non-executable files cannot cause further spread of the infection. In 2019, the cost of a data attack for businesses cost 3.92 million dollars. Granted most cyber attacks are targeted toward high profile companies with crucial data, but this accounts for small businesses as well. Over the last five years this has became an increase of 12 percent. As technological advancement continues to grow, there will only be a parallel increase in cost per attack. Popular pc computer game “Town of Salem” by BlankMediaGames(BMG) reported a breach in January 2019 that indicated the user data upward of 7.6 million players was stolen. The data included email addresses, passwords in multiple hash signatures, and IP addresses. Luckily, BMG uses a third-party company that deals with credit card information, they claim that payment information never goes through their site (Companu). A file-infecting virus overwrites code or inserts infected code into an executable file. This type of virus can infect several operating systems, commonly in Macintosh, Windows, and Unix. Though a file virus can spread it cannot spread across different operating systems. Essentially the spread is from an attacker in the middle. The established connection is an employee computer connected to a company servers’ database, from there the attacker finds an entry point for the virus. Once a virus is embedded into the systems it starts its’ payload effect, where it will delete or collect the information and cause further spread amongst the server.

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Terror for a network

Additionally, viruses have the intent to spread as much as possible, and for the means of multiple computers connected to a network, only trouble. For these types of virus their infection spreads from one computer to another. Viruses spread when the software or document they are attached to is transferred from one computer to another using the network, file sharing, or email. In 2009 only 12.4 million systems were infected. As networks have more connected devices than ever before, along with the lengthy network range, a now estimated 812.67 million systems were infected in 2019. Business networks can be accessible from the outside of the building, an attacker can connect to this network and plant their virus without the troubles of breaking through multiple firewalls over different networks. The infection could further spread to nearby open networks as well. A news article writes the report of Microsoft having a virus shutting down an entire enterprise network, including the 185 surveillance cameras on the property (Sheridan). It resembles the spread of data files. There is an attacker who goes after one computer that has the access to other computers on that network.

The root of all evil

Furthermore, the popular way of target attacks is from spam email, resulting in 92 percent of target attacks. An estimated 55% of email is spam mail across all users. A virus can be sent as an attachment in the email, and its intended function can be triggered as soon as you open the attachment or click a link. Attachments can release activity on data files, providing remote access to the system (backdoor), or crashing a user’s system. In 2019, 88 percent of organizations worldwide faced spam email attacks (Jentzen). The correlating effect of this is it resembles the other topics covered. By anti-virus software company “Kaspersky” alone reported a detected 129.9 million phishing attacks in the second quarter through spam email (Lance Whitney). There are different ways of attacking through spam email, which makes it hard to differentiate which it could be this includes: ransomware, spoofing, and whaling are just a short list of examples.

Backdoor Access Activity

Lastly, a backdoor access attack typically consists of two components. The server program, which can be installed on multiple computers, and the client program that can be used to control one or all the servers. Once an attacker establishes connection with the server program it opens a network port to connect to the client program, from there attackers can issue commands to the server. Backdoor access viruses can embed themselves inside a system without knowledge by the operating system. When implanted it can launch attacks that often go unnoticed due to a resemblance of many types of malware such as ransomware, spyware, DDoS, and cyrptojacking malware. Once a virus gains backdoor access; it is granted to resource files and gives the attackers the ability to remotely issue commands. Attackers can distribute copies of the server program to potential victims in numerous ways, for example, it can be used as the payload for a virus or worm as a hidden attachment in spam mail. An example of a backdoor program attack is “FinSpy” it was used to download and execute files the moment the computer connects to the internet. Similar to the viruses that spread among computers on a network.


In conclusion, viruses are only becoming more of a danger and cyber criminals are only getting started. In 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, cyber-attacks have seen a 10 percent increase. Viruses all have the same intent; they are all made to cause malicious activity for a company or individual. Whether that be through data files, the entirety of a network, spam mail, or backdoor access, evidence shows all these have the threat to cause major impact if not handled correctly. An interesting similarity for all these types of viruses is there start point. This consists of an attacker in the middle, as stated previously this could be an attacker attacking a user and gaining access to the company database server, or an outside connection joining a network and using a central computer to perform a DDoS attack. For companies safety precautions can include transferring to off-site data servers, vpn’s for networks, and firewall installations


  1. Bekman, S. (n.d.). Can a virus infect data files? Retrieved April 29, 2020, from
  2. Companu, C. (2019, January 3). Town of Salem. Retrieved April 2, 2020, from
  3. Jentzen, A. (2020, January 30). Phishing Statistics and News. Retrieved April 4, 2020, from
  4. Sheridan, K. (2020, April 6). Microsoft: Emotet Attack Shut Down an Entire Business Network. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from
  5. Whitney, L. (2019, August 29). Phishing attacks jump by 21% in latest quarter, says Kaspersky. Retrieved April 5, 2020, from

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The Payload Effect Of Virus. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 24, 2023, from
“The Payload Effect Of Virus.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
The Payload Effect Of Virus. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Sept. 2023].
The Payload Effect Of Virus [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2023 Sept 24]. Available from:
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