A computer virus is a program that explicitly copies itself, which may lead to it spreading from machine to machine and is typically done without the user’s knowledge or permission. Viruses, by definition, add their code to your system in such a way that when the infected part of the system executes, the virus does also.
Virus Detection & Prevention Tips
(For Home or Office)
- Do not open any files attached to an e-mail from an unknown, suspicious or untrustworthy source.
- Do not open any files attached to an e-mail unless you know what it is, even if it appears to come from a dear friend or someone you know. Some viruses can replicate themselves and spread through e-mail. Better be safe than sorry and confirm that they really sent it.
- Do not open any files attached to an e-mail if the subject line is questionable or unexpected. If the need to do so is there always save the file to your hard drive before doing so.
- Delete chain e-mails and junk e-mail. Do not forward or reply to any to them. These types of e-mail are considered spam, which is unsolicited, intrusive mail that clogs up the network.
- Do not download any files from strangers.
- Exercise caution when downloading files from the Internet. Ensure that the source is a legitimate and reputable one. Verify that an anti-virus program checks the files on the download site. If you're uncertain, don't download the file at all or download the file to a floppy and test it with your own anti-virus software.
- Update your anti-virus software regularly. Over 500 viruses are discovered each month, so you'll want to be protected. These updates should be at the least the products virus signature files. You may also need to update the product's scanning engine as well.
- Back up your files on a regular basis. If a virus destroys your files, at least you can replace them with your back-up copy. You should store your backup copy in a separate location from your work files, one that is preferably not on your computer.
- When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and do not open, download, or execute any files or e-mail attachments. Not executing is the more important of these caveats. Check with your product vendors for updates which include those for your operating system web browser, and e-mail.
Wikipedia.org - Computer Virus