Almost everyone who owns a computer should already know as to what exactly is a virus.It is nothing but a malicious computer program aimed at infecting the machine that may result in damage to the hardware, software, or data. The virus may act in either of the following two manners:
-Through replicating itself
-By Spreading from one computer to another
Whenever a virus attack takes place, no one can be aware of the intrusion. This eventuality makes it vital that appropriate preventive measures are initiated well in advance in the form of some good antivirus solutions.
Basic Virus Characteristics
The basic characteristics of a virus attack manifests in the ability of new virus to either alter the contents of a copy, or make the copy modify itself through a kind of reprogramming.
As for spreading from one computer to another, it can do so only through the host, or through some kind of carrier such as a CD/DVD, floppy disk or a pen drive. It can also be conveniently transmitted over a private network or the Internet.
Virus vis-à-vis Malware
It has been seen quite often that the name virus is sometimes referred to as malware, or even as computer worm, and vice versa. While malware is an acronym for malicious software, computer worm is one that never requires a host to transmit itself to another computer.
A virus too is confused with Trojan horse, which happens to be another type of malware. A Trojan horse, pretending to be a harmless program, can create considerable chaos through hidden scripts or commands.
The ever increasing usage of computers at all strata of life have made it extremely difficult for users to deal with viruses or malware comprehensively by themselves. The problem gets further aggravated when a multitude of computers and private networks keep on accessing the Internet for the following purposes:
-To surf the web and extract valuable information from the relevant websites
-In order to interact with each other through e-mail and instant messengers
-For sharing documents/files
-To participate in games and individual/group entertainment programs
In order to combat the resultant hazards, it has become necessary that one finds the right kind of solutions to comprehensively protect a computer, or a network of computers.
How to Ward off Computer Viruses?
As a matter of fact, the virus problem can be avoided simply though regular vigilance – followed by appropriate action if deemed necessary. In case of computers with Windows installed as the operating system, Microsoft prescribes the following key antivirus measures for the benefit of users:
-A good antivirus program should be installed in the computer to keep the operating system, files, and mailboxes free from the virus menace.
-E-mail attachments are considered as potential carriers of viruses. Since opening an attachment hastily may result in unhealthy spread of the viruses, it is better to wait and check about its credibility.
-Microsoft keeps on offering various kinds of updates from time to time. It is a healthy practice to get them downloaded.
-The firewall should always be kept operational. It is a great software tool to protect computers.
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