Virus information how to protect your system
Viruses are a set of computer instructions that attach themselves to programs you run, or as macros to word processor files, etc. You cannot get a virus by browsing a web page or reading email. You can get a virus by accessing an infected floppy disk, opening an email ATTACHMENT, or by running a downloaded program. Programs that end in COM or EXE can contain viruses. DLL files can also contain viruses, but are usually transported using EXE or COM files. Microsoft WORD files (more info) are the most common carriers of macro viruses. Files that end in ZIP (as opposed to Zip disks/drives) are files containing one or more files, some of which could contain viruses. Picture files (typically end in GIF or JPG) cannot contain a virus.
There are several good virus scanners on the market. McAfee (now Network Associates), Dr. Solomans, and Norton all have good virus scanners. Virus scanners compare file characteristics to their list of known viruses and alert you when one is detected. They have various options to scan every file when opened, closed, etc. Another option is to scan your boot files at startup, etc. Depending on the settings, the programs will slow down the booting and overall performance of your pc. Some versions of these programs are limited to a manual scan. I would utilize the manual scan option EVERYTIME you download a file or an email attachment that could contain a virus and also use it to scan all new software (even commercial) being installed into your PC. I would normally scan program files on open, but not close. (I feel this is redundant.) Always scan floppy disks before bringing files to your PC from them. A very important part of using virus checkers is to keep the data files current. Virus companies have web sites that will allow you to download their newest data files.
What do viruses do? Where do they come from? Whats a Trojan horse?
All viruses have one purpose in
common. That is to make copies of themselves. One of the original
viruses was released by a researcher in the hopes of finding out how
much sharing of software was occurring. He intended to create no
problems with his virus. It did have the unintended consequence of
propagating multiple times within an individuals PC and eventually filling
up the hard drive. Newer viruses can be more malicious. Some
viruses are written by programmers as a joke. Others write viruses
for the fun of it. CHI re-formats the victims hard drive. Melissa
is not malicious, except that it tended to overload email systems by sending
massive amounts of email to propagate itself. The Macintosh cookie
virus would seize control of the victims PC until the user typed chocolate
A Trojan horse is one program disguised as another. Happy 99 is an example of a Trojan horse. It is not really a true virus. Microsoft has a couple of programs that can erase your entire hard drive. (Fdisk and Format) These programs arent Trojan horses. They let you know what they can do. Happy 99 (information/removal instructions) gives you a fireworks display while installing itself into your email system in order to propagate. Most virus checkers will catch Trojan horse programs, but still be careful. (A virus checker will let you erase your hard drive with Fdisk for instance.)
What if I get a virus?
If your virus checker gives you a warning obey it ! Most offer a clean option. My 1st choice would be to clean the infected files, then to scan and clean all my disk drives. Make sure you do any recently used floppy disks. If you follow safe computing practices, it is unlikely you will ever have a virus infection. You WILL likely encounter viruses, however.
My machine crashes frequently
is this a
If your virus checker shows no infection, it is very unlikely that a virus is the problem.
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