A piece of programming code that is usually hidden as something else and causes some unexpected and usually event is known as a “virus”. The design of a virus is to automatically spread and transmitted to the computer user from an attachment in an email, downloads, diskette or CD. Users are often unaware of there existence. The effect of the viruses is trigger as soon as their code is executed. Some may lie dormant until certain conditions cause their code to execute. A small proportion of the viruses are harmful and others may erase the data on you hard drive and require reformatting.
There are three main types of viruses that your PC can attract:
- File infectors – these viruses attach themselves to program files such as .com or .exe files, but can also infect any program for which execution is requested. When the program is open or loaded the virus within it is also loaded. File infector viruses can also be received in wholly-contained programs or scripts sent as an attachment on you emails.
- System or boot-record infectors – this kind of viruses are infected executable codes found in certain system areas on a diskette or CD. It can attach itself on to the DOS boot sector on diskettes/CD or the Master Boot Record on the hard disks. How it work is, just say you receive a diskette from an innocent source that contains a boot disk virus. When you run and read the files in that diskette the virus is not necessary triggered. However, if you leave the diskette in your PC drive and turned off the computer or reload the operating system, the PC would then look firstly in your drive and find the virus infested disk and load it. Hence, this will make you PC’s hard disk temporarily unavailable for use. It is highly recommended that you have a bootable floppy drive on you PC.
- Macro viruses – These viruses are the most common among all, but tend to do the least damages. It usually infects your Microsoft Word application and typically inserts unwanted words of phrases.
There are many ways to protect your PC against viruses. Here is how:
- Definite the origin of each program or file you download onto your PC or when you open from you email program.
- A virus scanner is the most common tool for prevention. You can buy and install anti-virus software that can screen you email attachments
- Regularly check all your files and remove any viruses that are found
- You may occasionally receive email message warning you of any new virus. Unless you recognize the source of where this email is coming from, there may be good chance that email message is a virus hoax. So be aware and alert!