Viruses Understanding Computers Viruses
Understanding Computers
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  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  What is a virus?
Viruses are small programs that:
  • Cause your computer to do things that you do not want it to do
  • Self-replicate, create copies of themselves and infect other computers
Some of the things that different viruses do:
  • Erase all the data on your computer
  • Destroy your computer's Basic Input Output System (BIOS)
  • Mail themselves to everyone in your email program's address book
  • Pretend to originate from a computer that is not infected (spoofing)
  What are Trojans and how are they different from other viruses?
Like the Trojan Horse for which they are named, Trojans sit on your computer and wreak havoc from within.
Trojans are usually spread by downloading programs from the internet, often illicitly.
The Trojan is embedded in the downloaded program and installs itself when the intended program is installed.
  • Collect data from your computer and forward it to whoever knows how to ask for it
  • Invite other malicious programs onto your computer
  • Allow strangers to use your computer for their own purposes
  • Do not self replicate
  • Do not actively seek to damage your computer
  Tools for removing viruses
  Many excellent antivirus programs are available for free. We recommend AVG Anti-virus Free edition. We run it on our own computers.
Many companies offer free online scanning services which are also valuable tools.
Here's a list of the free programs we have used.
  Speaking of Trend Micro, here's a really neat interactive map that they provide free of charge to websites like ours.
The map requires Java from Sun Microsystems