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What is Computer
Computer virus - A parasitic program written intentionally to enter a
computer without the user's permission or knowledge. The word parasitic is
used because a virus attaches to files or boot sectors and replicates
itself, thus continuing to spread. Though some viruses do little but
replicate, others can cause serious damage or affect program and system
performance. A virus should never be assumed harmless and left on a
system." -- Symantec
Many people are confused about different types of computer
virus. The term computer virus is often used broadly to cover several
types of malicious programs, including viruses, worms and
Trojan horses. Each of them shares some similarities and some subtle differences.
types of computer viruses
Computer viruses are parasitic programs
that can replicate and spread to other computers. Computer virus
needs a host program to run, so it often attaches itself to executable
files. The virus codes run once you open the executive files.
Computer viruses are spread by sharing infected files
or email attachments. They can remain hidden in the system and are unleashed at a fixed date and
time. Computer virus causes mild to severe damage to boot sector,
hardware, computer programs and data files. Depending on their
actions, they can be further divided into boot viruses, program viruses,
macro viruses etc.
Computer worms can also replicate
themselves, but unlike computer viruses, worms are self-contained. They can run and spread without
being part of a host program. Worms spread at enormous speed in
the network. Hundreds or thousands of copies can be sent to everyone in
your email address book and the process repeats itself in the receiver's
computer. Computer worms use up system or network resources quickly,
causing the system or network to stop responding. Due to the
similarity of computer worms and computer viruses, computer worms are
sometimes considered as one type of computer viruses.
Trojan horses are malicious programs in disguise as
some useful or innocent programs. This tricks you into
running the programs. Sometimes, Trojan horses are hidden codes embedded
within a legitimate program. Trojan horses are run without your
knowledge, they can damage your files or
create security leak in your system, allowing unauthorized users to access
your computer. Unlike viruses and worms, they usually do not
Computer viruses, computer worms and Trojan horses are
all malicious programs. Even though they
have different modes of replication and action, all of them are extremely
How to choose the best
The number of new computer viruses is rising every
year and they are getting more malicious than before. In 2003,
7 new viruses were unleashed every day. In 2004, more than 10,000 new
computer viruses were identified, many of them have several variants.
viruses, computer worms and Trojan horses spread through the network by sharing diskettes, downloading
files from the internet and
email attachments. To protect your computer, always use the best antivirus
from reputable publishers and update it regularly. Do not open
suspicious files or attachments even if they come from people in your
The Best AntiVirus Software usually have several
1) They come from well known reputable publishers.
Be wary if you have never heard of the name of the antivirus programs or
the software publishers. Do not run any free downloads or free scans
unless you have researched about the software publishers.
Installing a poorly designed program or one which is
accompanied by hidden applications (such as spyware/adware) will do more
harm than good to your computer. They may damage your system, create
security holes and give you a false sense of security.
2) The software are user friendly, i.e. they are easy to
install and easy to use.
3) They provide rich features, including real time
protection, stopping computer viruses, worms and Trojan horses before they
infect the computer, scanning of incoming and outgoing email, instant
messages, and employing advanced worm stopping and script stopping technology.
4) The software publishers update their detection database
frequently and release new version regularly. The antivirus software
should have the option of automatic update.
5) Provide good and prompt technical support, such as live
message, email and phone support.
Computer viruses are just one of the IT security problems, hackers
and spyware / adware are two other major threats. Although antivirus programs can now detect and remove some spyware programs, they
cannot stop hacker attacks, nor can they detect most of the spyware programs
which are usually installed with other applications or free downloads.