Corona virus
30 July 2020 / Elaboration

Fight Covid-19 like a computer virus

The Covid-19 virus is tormenting the world. Can we learn anything from fighting computer viruses to overcome this Corona crisis? It seems that both require a very similar strategy.

The 10 similarities between the Corona and a computer virus:

1. New viruses

  • Computer virus: New computer viruses are spread when certain weaknesses in certain computer systems (soft- & hardware) are found and exploited. In the case of human viruses, this usually happens naturally; viruses find certain weaknesses in our bodies and can thus spread. As with computer viruses, with human viruses it cannot be ruled out that malicious intent may also come into play in the future.
  • Human virus: Covid-19 is a new virus that can affect the entire world population. It is a disease that has passed from an animal to a human being, a so-called zoonosis. It is the kind of virus to which humans are not yet resistant and which can make many people sick and even kill them.

2. Vaccines

  • Computer virus: It is essential that you protect your computer and network from viruses by installing an anti-virus software and firewall so that all known viruses are detected and stopped. However, when the anti-virus has not yet received an update for the last discovered viruses or when there is no update yet, then there is a chance that you are still infected. You should therefore always make sure that your computer automatically installs all the latest updates to programmes and the operating system and that you always disconnect your computer from the internet when you are not using it.
  • Human virus: In order to protect yourself against a new virus, your body has to produce antibodies. This is done by getting vaccinated or when you have overcome the disease naturally (with or without the help of drugs). However, if there is no vaccine yet, you still risk contracting the virus and your body has to do the job all by itself. If you can identify the virus, the first step has been taken. However, the time it takes to bring a vaccine to market is so much longer than programming a new anti-virus patch.

3. Protection

  • Computer virus: Protect your devices and network with good and up-to-date anti-virus software and install a firewall. It is also very important to use difficult passwords that are not easy to guess.
    Tip: use a long sentence and change some vowels with numbers, use a capital letter for each word and be sure to include some special characters: IkH0uV00r@lV@nMoe1lijk3P@sw00rden!?!!
  • Human virus: The stronger the body's defence system, the less chance you have of becoming infected. Therefore, take care of your body by sleeping enough, eating healthy and exercising daily. People who have cardiovascular diseases or suffer from diabetes are, in the case of the Covid-19 virus, much more susceptible to contracting the virus. Hopefully, a vaccine will soon come on the market so that the weakest among us can protect themselves.

4. Get rid of bad habits

  • Computer virus: Many people have acquired a number of habits that they would do well to break. For example, many people click on links in e-mails without having first carefully examined the link and the sender. By clicking on such emails you may end up on websites where they try to trick you into filling in your password. These websites look very reliable and are often a copy of a real website. And since more than 50% of people use the same password for multiple accounts, this is a harbinger of disaster. Another bad habit is people leaving their technical devices unlocked on their desks when they go for a drink or to the toilet.
  • Human virus: An unhealthy lifestyle and bad habits make you much more susceptible to viruses. It's always a good time to quit all those addictive substances (alcohol, smoking and all other drugs) that only make your body weaker. Also, move enough because you know what they say, sitting is the new smoking.

5. Good habits

  • Computer virus: A virus is often spread by emailing your contacts' email addresses in your name. So don't click on links in e-mails without thinking, even those from friends and colleagues, unless you are 100% sure. Those links can point to websites that could automatically install a piece of malware on your computer. Never open attachments unless you are 100% sure, always ask yourself if you are expecting an attachment from that person. Another good habit is to only buy online from websites you know and trust. Look at their
  • Human virus: It is important not to pass on a virus, so learn some good habits. Always cough or sneeze into a disposable handkerchief (and then throw it away) or use the inside of your elbow. Do not shake hands or kiss other people. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap, do not touch your face with your hands.
Corona virus

6. Keep your distance

  • Computer virus: Using a public Wi-Fi network is very dangerous because it is very easy for hackers to see what all the people on the network are doing and what data they are sending. You never know who owns the network and who is behind it. Viruses can be installed on your computer in this way. If you really need internet and an unsecured wifi network is the only option, always use a VPN so your connection is encrypted and no data can be read from you. Or better yet, always use a VPN.
  • Human virus: When many people are in the same room, the risk of infection is greater because one of them may be infected. The symptoms of the virus are not immediately visible. Therefore keep enough distance (at least 1 m), even in the open air and certainly avoid rooms with many people.

7. Be informed

  • Computer virus: Using macros in documents can be very useful, but you need to know when to enable them or not. Macros can cause your computer to become infected because they have rights to execute bits of external code on your computer. If you are not sure, ask your IT department.
  • Human virus: As the virus can be spread by droplets of moisture from an infected person entering your body, it is important not to touch your face with your hands as they come into contact with many objects and people.

8. Suspect an infection?

  • Computer virus: If you think you are infected, contact your IT department immediately and ask for advice so that they can help you and prevent further spread. If possible, disconnect your computer or smartphone from the internet immediately.
  • Human virus: If you think you are infected, contact your doctor by phone and stay home for 7 days until the fever subsides completely and you are fever-free for more than one day. Avoid all contact with the outside world to prevent possible spread.

9. Quarantine

  • Computer virus: When your anti-virus software has detected a virus, the infected files are quarantined by the software. Also, never forward suspicious e-mails to others. The costs associated with an infection can be high, as there is a need for professionals to deal with the problem.
  • Human virus: If you have contracted the infection, avoid all contact with the outside world. Create your own quarantine, as it were. However, if you become too ill, you will have to be hospitalised and quarantined until they are sure that you are no longer infected and can no longer pass on the virus.

10. Top-down measures

  • Computer virus: When suspicious e-mails and websites are reported to the government, they make sure that suspicious websites are taken offline and the e-mails are blocked so that others cannot get infected. They work together with the internet providers of our country.
  • Human virus: The government has taken draconian measures to contain the virus and nip the pandemic in the bud as soon as possible. Failure to do so could spell disaster for humanity. It is therefore important that both the government and the people take their responsibility and take the situation seriously.


It is clear that it is of paramount importance that each person takes responsibility. Therefore, always follow all procedures and measures, and be informed by professionals. Make sure that viruses cannot spread by protecting yourself and always using your common sense. The economic and human impact is often great and can have far-reaching consequences.

Finally, a warning in times of events that dominate the news (like Corona, World Cup, Olympics, 9/11,...):

Big events are always abused by cybercriminals. So be careful which links you click on and which products you buy online. People have already been cheated out of millions during this Corona pandemic. People buy mouth masks and cleansing gels on fake websites, have their credit card details stolen and wait in vain for their ordered products. Many people have also donated money to develop a so-called Corona vaccine. Clicking on links in emails that redirect to fake websites providing information about the event are commonplace. So be sure to always check the sender. Use your search engine if you are not sure.