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Viruses and Macros

15.34. What Is a Computer Virus and What Types of Viruses Exist?

A computer virus is program that infects your computer and spreads either by self-replication or by changing another file and attaching itself to the file. The latter technique of spreading is known as piggybacking; the virus is spread each time the program that the virus is attached to is run or opened. Another way for viruses to spread is through e-mail. These viruses are known as e-mail viruses, and the vast majority of e-mail viruses spread by infecting a computer and then e-mailing themselves to everybody in the address book stored on the infected computer. Almost all viruses are malicious in nature and are intended to cause damage to your computer software, files, and data.

Other viruslike malicious programs include worms and Trojan horses. A worm is a small computer program that spreads through computer networks by exploiting security holes in the software and operating systems of computers on the network. When a worm infects a computer on the network, it typically spreads by using the security hole to scan for additional computers with the same vulnerability and then copying itself to that machine. It continues to spread from there.


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