Understanding Computer Viruses

Computer viruses are a real concern for anyone who has a computer connected to the internet. No one is immune to a virus attack, whether it is a large corporation or a small personal computer at home. Viruses can spread quickly and cause major damage to infected files and computers.

A virus is a manmade program that hides and then replicates or copies itself onto other programs on the user’s computer. It isn’t the replicating that causes a problem on the computer, but the fact that each virus can be programmed to do certain tasks, such as delete certain files, corrupt programs or overwrite something on the hard drive that making it inaccessible. It can cause a computer function poorly, and can take over an entire email system that sends out the virus in emails to everyone on the contact list.

Some viruses will hide on a computer until a certain scheduled time, or may act immediately. They may act only when the specific file is being used, or can continue attacking at all times. Even the simplest viruses can cause problems by taking up space and memory, causing computers to slow down and even stop working.

Viruses can spread through attachments on emails, or when downloading an unknown file from the internet. They are designed to replicate and spread quickly, causing as much damage to as many computers as possible.

While it is almost impossible to protect a computer from a virus, there are steps that can be taken to keep it safer. Files should only be downloaded from places that the user are familiar with and secure, although even that isn’t foolproof. Email attachments should never be opened unless the sender is well known and the attachment is expected by the user. Using a good virus protection program is a must, and backups should be frequently made on the computer in case of any problems.

Viruses will keep getting more advanced, but doing all that is possible to secure a computer can help prevent the further spread and destruction of these manmade attacks.

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