Multipartite Virus

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What Does Multipartite Virus Mean?

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.

Techopedia Explains Multipartite 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:

  1. Install a trusted and legitimate anti-malware program
  2. Don’t open email attachments or download anything from a nontrusted Internet source.
  3. Update the virus scanner regularly

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.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.