Virus infoAn email attachment
An infected exe file
An email with a script file/java html embedded
A spreadsheet, database or word processing document with a malicious macro
A floppy disk with a virus infected boot sector
What is a Virus?
A virus is simply a software program that has an ability to alter the functionality of other software (normally operating system files) on the computer.
Why do viruses exist?
Because they can Software programmers who may have been shunned by a company, students making a political point, one-upmanship of a programmer wanting to show a flaw in a piece of software, practical jokers just out for a laugh all these and many more may be reasons for the creation and later distribution of a virus.
What can they do?
Viruses are capable of doing anything from creating a popup cartoon character on your screen who makes funny noises every time you press the m key on your keyboard (Monster Virus) to eliminating the bootable flash area of the motherboard BIOS rendering the PC useless (W95 CIH - Chernobyl).
How do you catch one?
A virus can be contracted by introducing an infected file into the PC. These could come from the following sources:
What can be done to prevent virus infection?
Numerous companies employ programmers to look for Virus infected files and to find out what the files do. Once this is done they program their own software to reverse the effects and fix the problem. Each of these programs is known as a "Virus Definition and inoculation". The flaw that existed to allow the virus to infect is normally closed by the programmers within a couple of days, unless its a fundamental ability of the program concerned. These updates and information to their usage are normally distributed via the Internet.
If a file is received from an unknown source it is not recommended that it is opened. Potentially dangerous file types include those with the extension EXE, DOC, XLS, VDB and VBS. It is advisable to scan unknown files with recently updated virus checker software if they are to be used.
Certain evesham PCs come with Norton Antivirus preinstalled. In order to be more effective this software should be updated via the Internet to protect against recent viruses.
Running Adaptec's (WildFile) Goback software will prevent boot sector viruses from infecting the PC. It will not protect against other virus infection but if activated within time it can be used to revert the PC back to a stage before the virus infected. It will not prevent flash BIOSes from being overwritten but very few viruses have this ability.
What is a hoax virus?
A hoax virus is an email or program alert claiming to be about a virus in the field but is in truth either a chain letter or a virus itself in disguise. It is a good idea to check out the Hoax areas of the sites listed below to know what to look out for and to prevent you from passing on a chain letter.