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About Computer Viruses                                            

So what is a virus...we're not talking the flu here.

By Shelley Lockwood

I've been trying to think of the ideal punishment for these idiots who continuously wreak havoc on we the happy go lucky cyber space date anything I've come up with is just not good enough. Suggestions anyone?

Try as I may, I just can't figure out what they're thinking. I mean, they're obviously quite talented and dedicated to their cause. The hours of work and effort they put into developing the viruses simply amazes me.

What amazes me more though is that they do it in the first place. Wouldn't their skills be of more value if they put them to better use? Why are they wasting their time and talent? Why are they breaking the law?

Guess it's just another one of those difficult choices some people have to make in life:

A- Create and spread computer viruses: Receive no remuneration and risk going to jail.

B- Create useful products with these skills: Earn money doing it.

I can see where it's a tough choice.

Now with the help of spammers, viruses are spreading more quickly and more widely than before. Spammers blast away at huge numbers of e-mail recipients (boy do we all know that).

So how do they help the spread? Well if they have the virus then it's not just junk mail that they're sending, is it? And if it's one of those nasty little buggers that spreads itself using an address book (e-mail addresses) then look out when it hits pay dirt with a spammer's list.

This whole virus mess is just getting more and more complicated. I mean, used to be if you received an e-mail with a virus attached, it actually came from the e-mail address listed as the sending address, right? Well, not anymore. Now the virus may choose who to send the virus to from a list, and also who will be indicated as the sender.

Confusing? Pretty much. In other words just because you get an e-mail from JoeX with a virus attached doesn't mean it actually came from JoeX. The virus just stuffed JoeX's e-mail address as the sender.

What is a Computer Virus?

A virus is a manmade program or piece of code that causes an unexpected, usually negative, event. Viruses are often disguised games or images with clever marketing titles such as “Me, nude.”

What is a Computer Worm?

Computer Worms are viruses that reside in the active memory of a computer and duplicate themselves. They may send copies of themselves to other computers, such as through email or Internet Relay Chat (IRC).

What is a Trojan Horse?

A Trojan horse program is a malicious program that pretends to be a benign application; a Trojan horse program purposefully does something the user does not expect. Trojans are not viruses since they do not replicate, but Trojan horse programs can be just as destructive.

Many people use the term to refer only to non-replicating malicious programs, thus making a distinction between Trojans and viruses.

The best way to protect yourself from a virus (and people on your mailing list) is to use an up to date anti-virus program.  Don't just buy it and install it, make sure you set it up to scan incoming and outgoing e-mail. Download the updates as soon as they are available and run regular virus scans on your computer (all files).

Visit McAfee Security to stay up to date with the latest viruses.

Take care,

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