Visions InfoLine - What Is A Computer Virus
A computer virus is a program that infects other computers or programs and reproduces itself without the knowledge of the user. When a virus has infected your computer it can spread to other programs or damage your files or applications depending on the type of virus.

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Worms are programs that propagate from computer to computer on a network without modifying other programs on the target machines. Worms can run independently and travel from machine to machine across network connections and may have portions of themselves running on many different machines. Worms do not change other programs, although they may carry other code that doesTrojan horses are programs that appear to have one function but actually perform another function. Trojan horses are named after the Trojan horse of myth. Trojan horses resemble a program that the user wishes to run - While the program appears to be doing what the user wants, it is also doing something else unrelated to its advertised purpose and without the user's knowledge

There are 1,000 of viruses which can infect your computer and are spread in a variety of ways

From a floppy disk containing an infected file or program
By downloading an infected file from the Internet
Via an attachment from an email

The payload of a virus will vary on how the author has instructed the virus to execute, it could be a text message that appears on your screen to completely erasing the data on your hard drive at a set time or date

You should always have an Antivirus program installed on your computer and an Internet Security program which can be purchased from computer stores or downloaded from the Internet

Popular Anti Virus Software Vendors

McAfee Anti Virus
Norton Anti Virus
Norton Internet Security
Sophos Anti Virus
Trend Micro
Aladdin Internet Security
Kaspersky Anti Virus

Most online sites offer a FREE check of your computer for any viruses

Safer Computing
Back up your files on a regular basis. If a virus destroys your files you can replace them with your back-up copy
Do not open any files attached to an email from an unknown, suspicious or untrustworthy source.

Do not open any files attached to an email unless you know what it is, even if it came from someone you know. Some viruses can replicate themselves and spread through email.

Do not open any files attached to an email if the subject line is questionable or unexpected. Save the file to your hard drive and check for any viruses

Do not download any files from unknown web sites, viruses can be hidden in files or programs. If you are unsure copy the file or program to a floppy and check for any virus

New viruses are released every day so make sure that your Anti Virus Software has the latest virus definitions installed
it is good practice to have this option set automatically to update your antivirus software on a weekly or monthly basis

Safer Email
Email is one way to get a virus but you cannot get infected just by reading your email. Viruses are sent as attachments to an email message and must be opened or clicked on to infect your computer. An executable attachment is a program that must be run to activate the virus. If you do contract a virus or other malicious program it can rename or delete files or send itself to all of your friends or colleagues in your address book. They can even create an open back door to your computer for a possible hacker to gain access to your PC

if an email appears to be sent by someone you know it might contain malicious code. Always scan attachments before you open them even if they're from someone you know. If in doubt do not open it just delete it