Internet & Email Threats
Definition of a Computer Virus
A program that infects a computer by attaching itself to another program, and propagating itself when that program is executed. A computer can become infected by files downloaded over a network, or by the installation of new software or floppy disks that are infected with viruses as well as email attachments. Some viruses are only pranks, and perform harmless actions like displaying a screen with a joke message on it. Others can destroy files or wipe out a hard drive.
Why Do People Write Computer Viruses?
Some general reasons are to experiment how to write viruses or to test their programming talent. Some get a kick out of seeing how the virus spreads, and some do it for cyber fame. One reason I can think of is the same psychology that drives vandals and arsonists. Why would someone want to break the window on someone else's car?, spray paint on buildings? Set fire to things? For some people that seems to be a thrill.
How Can I Prevent My Computer From Being Infected By A Computer Virus? Buy a well known Anti-Virus Software such as McAfee or Norton and KEEP THE VIRUS DEFINITIONS UP TO DATE! Set it to scan email attachments and periodically scan your hard drives for infections.
Be careful of what you download from the Internet! Only download files and programs that are from trusted sources. Once downloaded, use your Anti-Virus software to scan them for viruses. Downloading music or videos from file sharing communities such as iMesh or WinMX, Etc. is a popular way of distributing viruses.
If you are using Microsoft Outlook, close the email preview pane (On the toolbar click "View" and uncheck "Preview Pane"). The reason for this is that some emails (with or without attachments) are infected with program scripts that will run when the email is opened. If the email message is viewable in the preview pane the email is technically opened and the script can execute.
Lastly, USE YOUR HEAD! If...
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