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Do you know what a computer virus is If not does this cause you fear or hesitation in your day today use of a computer Or are you more afraid of the technical explanation you would get if you were bold enough to ask If you read this essay I will attempt to in such a way if you know nothing about computer you feel more confident just for having read it Of course the best protection is to understand what it is that we are dealing with so let us start there It is easiest to think o a computer virus as similar to that a biological virus A computer virus also needs a host to infect In this case it infects a program Microsoft word Internet Explorer and computer games like solitaire are some examples of programs They are made up of what is called code Code is basically instructions telling the program what to do A computer virus attaches itself to this code and like a biological virus its first mission is to infect other programs What does this happen Very simply when the infect program is run the virus relocates itself into another program This program in turn may infect another when it is run I use the word may here because as descried later this infecting of other programs may only occur after a certain event has taken place Though not all viruses are written to cause damage to your computer they exist without your knowledge and so have potential to do so Viruses begin to work and spread when you start up the program or application of which the virus is present For example a word processing program that contains a virus will place the virus in memory every time the word processing program is run Once in memory one of a number of things can happen The virus may be programmed to attach
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