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Why to Do It:

Viruses A virus is a special type of software program. It has two main purposes in life. Its first (and most critical) is to duplicate itself—in particular, to spread copies of itself to other disks and other computer systems. Its second function is to carry out some activity on each disk where it resides. This activity can be as benign as sending a message that says "Peace" or as vicious as erasing your hard disk.

Viruses duplicate themselves in a variety of ways. The most common method of virus attack is for a newly arriving virus to locate a specific system software file on your disk and infect it (that is, place a copy of itself within some file's code/resources). For example, suppose you install an already infected application on your disk and launch it. This triggers the virus, with the result that it initiates a search for its target file (let's say it's the System file here) and infects it. Then it uses the System file as a base of operations for further infections. (By the way, at this point deleting the original infected application will be of no help). Any other system software files, particularly the Finder, control panels, and extensions, are also potential initial sites of infection (it varies according to the particular virus).


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