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What is a computer virus?
Most people are scared of computer viruses, but few actually know what they are. Some people even believe that computer viruses can be transferred between computers just by putting them near each other, or by using a CD-ROM that was once inside an infected computer (both things are impossible). Youíre right to be scared of viruses, but you can protect yourself against them a lot better once you know what youíre up against.
To put it simply, a virus is any piece of software that makes its way onto your machine in secret, without you wanting it there, and then attempts to transmit itself to other machines. Contrary to popular belief, viruses arenít necessarily destructive or even annoying Ė some do little more than pop up messages, and some do nothing at all.
Today, there are many different ways for viruses to spread. You can get them from emails, if you open an executable attachment (they will then re-send themselves to your entire address book). You can get them from Microsoft Office documents, if you let a rogue macro run. You can get them from the web, if you follow a link from someoneís IM (and then the viruses will IM itself to all your friends). You can even get them over the Internet without doing anything at all if you donít let Windows update itself regularly, thanks to the many security holes found every month.
You should realise, however, that viruses donít just come out of nowhere Ė they are not accidental like bugs or crashes. For a virus to exist, someone somewhere has to have sat and actively created and developed it, just like they would with any other program. Sometimes virus creators are caught and arrested, but the nature of the Internet makes them difficult to find.
About the Author: John Gibb is the owner of Virus protection resources
, For more information on virus protection check out http://www.virus-protection-resource-and-guidance.info