What is a Virus?
A virus is program, or piece of malicious code, that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge and runs against your wishes. Viruses often replicate themselves and are capable of spreading themselves, typically through e-mail.
A common misconception with viruses is that they will be sent from someone you do not know. In reality most viruses send themselves from an infected user’s e-mail address book without the user’s knowledge. Since address books usually contain addresses that are most frequently used, then it is most likely that viruses will be spread among friends, family, or business acquaintances.
As technology has become more advanced, there are viruses that can be spread through website media, such as images, video, etc. These viruses are commonly disguised as advertisements for Anti-Virus software, claiming that it has detected threats on your computer and offers to perform a free scan. Variations of this type of virus are “Anti-Virus 2010”, “Security Tool”, or “Malware Warning”. It comes in the form of a pop-up window, and clicking anywhere on it (even the “X” to close the window) will trigger the virus to run. If you see a pop-up window similar to this description, DO NOT click on it, shut down your computer, and seek advice from a computer repair professional.
The best way to prevent viruses is to use Anti-Virus software. It is not enough to just have anti-virus software installed, you must also keep the virus definitions up-to-date and scan your machine regularly for viruses.
What if my computer is infected with a Virus?
Virus removal can sometimes be a bit tricky. Most anti-virus software has virus removal capabilities. Instructions on removing viruses can also be found at the McAfee and Norton websites. If you are not comfortable with the virus removal procedure you should contact your local computer repair shop.