Frequently Asked Questions about Viruses
Last Updated: Fri, 22 Apr 2011 > Related Articles
Learn general information about viruses and how to protect your computer.
Briefly, three different items are commonly called a virus.
- A true "Virus" is a program that attempts to cripple your computer by "infecting" key files and spreading itself on to others. It might change critical files or perform unwanted functions like erasing your hard drive. NATAS (Satan backwards) is a particularly nasty virus.
- A Trojan Horse will leave your computer accessible for other people to use (a common Trojan Horse is Back Orifice). Once a Trojan Horse is installed they may "bounce" through your machine as a way to cover their tracks and do other damage. A Trojan Horse commonly gives access to all the information stored on your hard drive, so they can read what you have, or use you as their storage server.
- A Worm will travel from system to system and gather information and send it on, also doing collateral damage along the way. The recent ILOVEYOU scare was basically a worm.
How do I keep from getting a virus? One of the designs of a virus is not only to infect you, but to spread itself. Some have been know to read an address book, and e-mail itself to everyone in the book (prettypark) or attaches itself to every outgoing mail (Happy99). So, simple steps to be safe include:
- Don't open an email attachment if you don't know the sender, or the message text or attachment name seems odd.
- Scan all attachments and files you receive with a frequently updated anti-virus program.
- Don't download from sites you are unfamiliar with or sites that may be questionable.
Help! I have a Virus. What do I do? Stop! Do as little as possible on that machine, because every click could spread the infected program. A web search will usually turn up several resolutions for your particular virus. Please try the Anti-Virus Software's site for detailed information. Anti-Virus Software: