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How Viruses Work

A computer virus is a computer program that places copies of itself in other programs on your system, or that somehow manipulates other files on your system. Most viruses infect program files or work through macro code in data files; plain-text e-mail messages are not capable of being infected (although e-mail attachments can include viruses).

Literally thousands of different viruses have been detected to date, and can infect your system in many different ways, including


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