Can Viruses Spread Through WiFi And Networks?

Viruses can steal your personal information as well as having the ability to move through your system, infecting and corrupting your files and destroying your computer if it is built to do so. Many individuals think that viruses cant move through networks and that you are safe behind your firewall. Is that the case?

Viruses can indeed spread through networks, including WiFi, because that is just a wireless network. Think of the internet, which is the largest network globally and where most viruses come from. Viruses can also move through private networks by attaching themselves to shared network resources like documents and executable files.

This article will look at what a virus essentially is, how it works and what types there are for a better understanding. Then it will cover networks and if viruses can indeed move through them and WiFi taking into consideration your firewall and the internet.

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Can a virus spread through WiFi and networks?

There are many different types of viruses that can infect your machine, and they can do so in various ways. Many individuals think that their systems are safe and that viruses can’t spread through networks or over WiFi because typically, a user will have to download, run, or activate the virus somehow on their machine and not over a network. Furthermore, they think that viruses are specific to that machine alone unless someone specifically puts the virus onto their system.

A virus can indeed spread over networks and WiFi; however, because there are different types of viruses and they are intended to do specific things, only particular viruses can spread over WiFi and networks

What is a virus          

In order to understand if viruses can indeed move through WiFi and networks and how they do so, we need to know what they are and the various types there are. In doing so, we will be able to understand which ones have the capability to do so.

A computer virus is a malicious program or type of code that has the ability to self replicate by copying itself to another program. In simpler terms, it is able to spread by itself into documents or executable code.

What is the purpose of a computer virus?  

A computer virus aims to infect vulnerable systems to gain some form of control and is typically used to steal sensitive data or harm that system in various ways (crash the system, change it, delete it, etc.).

What different types of viruses do you get?

We will now take a look at various types of viruses, trying to better understand which ones may be able to spread through WifI and networks. One thing to note is that all viruses are intended for malicious intent that could cause a number of issues, and the types of viruses sometimes do not specifically state what they intend to do, just how they infect your device.

Resident virus

These viruses essentially attach themselves to your system’s RAM (random access memory) and are intended to meddle with your system’s operations. In some instances, these viruses can even attach themselves to antivirus software files.

Multipartite virus

This virus will infect your entire system and will spread by performing a series of unauthorized actions on your operating system as well as your documents and programs.

Direct action virus

This type of virus is intended to target a specific file type, and the most common are executable files (.exe files). Luckily, because of their targeted nature, these viruses are one of the easier ones to detect and remove.

Browser hijacker

A browser hijacker is one of the more easily detected viruses, and it infects your browser, redirecting you to malicious websites.

Overwrite virus

As the name implies, these viruses will overwrite file content and infect entire folders, files, and programs.

Web scripting virus

A web scripting virus will disguise itself in coding links, ads, videos, images, and website code. It is able to infect your system if you download these types of malicious files or visit these malicious websites.

File infector virus

These viruses target executable files and will typically slow down programs, damage and corrupt files when an individual runs them.

Boot sector virus

This virus is relatively easy to avoid but can cause major havoc on your system. It will typically hide on bootable devices such as USB drives as well as in email attachments. It can infect your system’s master boot record, damaging or corrupting the operating system when it is activated.

Network virus

Network viruses travel through network connections and have the ability to replicate themselves through shared resources.

Can a computer virus spread through a network?

As we can see, the last virus on our list is explicitly built to infect systems on a network by attaching itself to shared resources. Remember that a virus depending on how it is made, can attach itself to almost any file on your machine, and a network is just a group of shared systems that are able to share files with one another.

Typically, these viruses will attach themselves to files that all computers on the network will need, such as word documents or executable files.

What about the internet?

If we use a bit of common logic, we will understand the internet is the largest network in the world. Remember that we are not explicitly talking about a private network but a network in general. Viruses are all over the internet, and they cannot only make their way onto your machine but once on your machine, depending on the virus, it will be able to infect your private network.

Doesn’t my firewall protect me against viruses over a network?

You have to understand that firewalls will not protect your machine from viruses because a firewall is designed to limit access to outside users and networks and does so by restricting ports. This means it helps to prevent your computer from essentially communicating with other machines on its network or the internet.

It is not designed to read and modify files and scan for viruses. To make things a bit simple, you can think of it like this. If a network is a highway and the cars are the files, the firewall essentially blocks the highway from significant traffic. The vehicles are still able t get to the destination if the user gives them a road map or alternate route.

Can a computer virus spread through WiFi?

WiFi is essentially just a wireless network. This means that instead of data being transferred over cables, it is just transferred over the air. Therefore, that means that viruses can indeed spread through WiFi, and if you think that your smartphone is safe because it connects to the internet through your carrier and over WiFi, this is not true.

Remember that a virus is essentially just lines of code, and all devices (Macs, PCs, laptops, tablets, cellphones, and anything else) run on systems that are designed with code, whether it is C, C++, Java, Python, Ruby and more.


We discovered that there are many different types of viruses that can infect and corrupt your system for malicious intent. It doesn’t matter if you have a computer or digital device such as a smartphone; a virus can infect them all. Furthermore, viruses can indeed spread over networks and WiFi networks because WiFi is just a form of a wireless network. Think of the internet.

The internet is the largest network in the world, and that is typically where most of the viruses come from unless you are explicitly given or are infect with a virus from a person who puts it on your machine.

You can also connect to the internet via a hard line (cable) or via WiFi (think of your smartphone or tablet that uses your carrier and data to connect to the internet.

Lastly, it is important to understand that firewalls do not protect your machine against viruses. It may be possible for it to stop specific communication with another system, but it is not designed for viruses. Hence, it would help if you always had an up to date robust virus protection software on your machine.

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