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Anti-Virus Software

A computer virus is software that runs on your personal computer without your consent and without your control. Viruses are generally only annoying and intrusive; however, many viruses intentionally interfere with the use of your personal computer cause it to crash, or capture or destroy data. Some viruses may even wreak havoc beyond your computer and produce coordinated attacks on company web sites on the Internet.

Like its biological counterpart, a computer virus can spread from one computer to another, infecting each with its behavior. Viruses differ from other types of unwanted software on your computer by replicating on their own and without any conscious help from the computer owner.

Viruses generally come along with software or files that you download from sites on the Internet or as attachments to email. A virus can be part of the downloaded program, embedded in a word processing or spreadsheet program, or a separate additional program that installs with a downloaded program.

The surest way to avoid viruses is to never download and install anything from the Internet or accept files from the network through email. More practically, you should be wary of installing software from a site that is not well known and purchase a special program to protect against and eliminate viruses.

Virus protection programs operate in one of two ways: on demand, they can look through the files on your computer and identify those that are viruses, or they can run all the time checking that everything coming to your computer from the Internet is free of viruses. Because of the extreme danger that viruses can pose, most antiviral software runs continuously and checks everything coming to your personal computer from the network for evidence of a virus. In either form, the virus protection software looks for patterns in the binary files that match patterns in its list of known viruses. If anything matches one of the known patterns, the virus protection program warns of the danger, blocks its receipt, or deletes it.

In order for your protection against viruses to remain effective, you must update the list of patterns regularly from the vendor of the virus eliminator.

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