Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 | technology
The computer virus lends its name from the field of biology. In medical terms a virus is a minute infectious agent which lacks independent metabolism and is able to replicate only in a living host cell. A virus acts in a similar way in a computer.
A virus is a small software program, which has really no purpose other than to cause harm. It is infectious – that means it is transmitted from one computer to another. Like a biological virus, it has the ability to replicate – make copies of – itself, while it is within your system. A computer virus can therefore be defined as:
A malicious piece of software that is designed to spread from one computer to another with the intent of causing damage.
Some viruses bring about more harm than others. The damage may range from being a mere nuisance to causing system failure. Some of the effects that you could experience if your computer is affected by a virus are:
Unsolicited e-mails are sent to everyone in your address book from your laptop.
Your computer restarts constantly so that it becomes impossible for you to work on it.
Some of your documents are e-mailed to strangers.
Some of your data files are erased or corrupted.
All the data from your hard disk are erased.
Where do these viruses come from? Clever programmers who want to cause wilful harm to as many computers as possible write these programs – the Microsoft Windows environment is their main target. If you are working under Apple Mac or an open source operating system, you are unlikely to be infected by a nasty virus.
Even if you are using Microsoft Windows, you don’t have to be haunted by the fear of virus attacks – protection is possible!
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