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Virus Infections

If you have heard any technology news story in the past few years, you have heard about virus attacks. Computer viruses are digital attacks against your computer, your Palm Pilot, and eventually every piece of Internet-related technology you have. Some simple viruses even use cell phone e-mail capability to propagate themselves. A virus is a self-replicating program that can attach itself to files or applications to do some function that the user didn't intend. A virus can harm your system by wiping out files and causing substantial destruction.

Just as you can catch a biological virus that can affect your health in many ways, your computer can receive a virus through several means, some of which include e-mail, downloads, infected floppy disks, and browsing a Web site. A virus can be triggered when you execute some attachment in an e-mail or execute some piece of code on your hard drive. People don't usually execute a virus intentionally, so virus writers have to hide them behind files or rename them to somehow make the virus seem benign. The networked world makes it so much easier to transfer a virus and cause widespread destruction. The Code Red worm in the third quarter of 2001 caused more than 1.2 billion dollars in damage.


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