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A multipartite virus is a fast-moving virus that uses file infectors or boot infectors to attack the boot sector and executable files simultaneously. Most viruses either affect the boot sector, the system or the program files. The multipartite virus can affect both the boot sector and the program files at the same time, thus causing more damage than any other kind of virus. When the boot sector is infected, simply turning on the computer will trigger a boot sector virus because it latches on to the hard drive that contains the data that is needed to start the computer. Once the virus has been triggered, destructive payloads are launched throughout the program files.
A multipartite virus infects computer systems multiple times and at different times. In order for it to be eradicated, the entire virus must be removed from the system.
A multipartite virus is also known as a hybrid virus.
The effects of a multipartite virus can be far-reaching and very damaging to a computer system. A virus is launched at various points in time, making the computer inoperable for even the simplest tasks.
It is paramount to disinfect a computer laden with a multipartite virus, but it is very difficult to do so in practice. For instance, the program files may be cleaned up, but the boot sector may not be. If this is the case, the multipartite virus will reproduce as it did when it originated within the system. Computer experts feel prevention is key in avoiding any virus, and they reccomend the following steps:
The first multipartite virus was the Ghostball virus. It was discovered by Fridrik Skulason in 1989. In 1993, Skulason founded FRISK Software International, an Icelandic company that develops anti-virus and anti-spam services.