A virus will place itself into other program files and when the infected program runs, the virus code looks for other program files to infect. If that infected file is sent to another computer user, the virus may spread quickly. A virus can do great damage to your computer, or none at all. Some are simply annoying, while others will destroy your hard drive. There are two basic types of viruses. Those that infect files and those that infect the areas on your disk that are used to start up your hard disk or boot sector.
While most anti virus companies are now using the term “virus” to include Trojans, worms, and viruses, there are differences. A Trojan does not travel from one computer to another, like the virus and worm can. A trojan can seem to do something useful while concealing it’s actual destructive purpose, such as destroy files. A worm’s a self-replicating program that does not alter files, but stays in active the memory and duplicates itself. Worms use the features of the operating system to remain undected by the user. Quite often they will carry a malicious payload.
How can you protect yourself from such attacks? How can you safeguard your computer? Some simple steps will help to greatly diminish your chances of getting a virus, trojan, or worm. While these are simple steps, they are also routine steps.
Viruses are spread by email, downloads, floppies of any kind, new hard drives, or network computers. You can therefore get a virus from your email, but not AOL email, downloads from the internet, or any floppy disc.
You should always scan every floppy and any new download regardless of who you received it from. Floppies can carry boot sector viruses which can disable your computer from starting up, and you can never be sure that the one who sent you that file scanned their own system
The best way to protect yourself is to NEVER download anything for someone you do not know. Even if you do know who sent you something, you might still want to scan it to be safe. If the person sending the file does not know they are infected, you stand a good chance of getting infected also. Some virus programs send out email using the person’s address book, and something that might appear to be from a friend, was not actually sent by them at all, but rather the virus.
You do not want to EVER click on hyperlinks sent to you by strangers. There is a good chance that you might end up someplace online that you do not want to be, if you click it. Many web sites today have them set up, so that when you go to that page, it starts an automatic download. To safeguard against an unknown and unwanted download, beware of clicking on hyperlinks from those you do not know.
Never give out your password for get online to anyone. Beware of email or instant messages asking for your password. An internet newcomer might easily be fooled if the email appears to be from an official source. Remember that your Internet Service Provider will NEVER ask for your password, nor your billing information. Never give out your billing information or password.
Everyone that uses a computer should have virus protection, and have it enabled. While having this protection is good, it serves little purpose if the virus protection is not updated on a regular basic, and often. The virus protection, if kept updated, in most cases will catch a virus that is trying to infect your computer.
There are several levels of virus protection, and various companies offering it. The best thing to do is decide what is best for your particular needs. If you start out with just basic protection, you can always upgrade to more later if the need arises. The important thing is to get protected now.
Two virus protection companies are Norton and McAfee.