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To Protect Your Computer From Viruses
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Computer viruses are deadly. They often spread without any apparent contact and can be a nuisance, or even worse, fatal to your computer. Individuals who create these viruses, estimated at 10-15 new ones a day, are the electronic version of terrorists email database . Their goal is to inflict havoc and destruction on as many people as possible by disabling, stealing, damaging, or destroying computer and information resources. Often, they have no specific target in mind, so no one is safe. If you access the internet, share files or your computer with others, or load anything from diskettes, CDs, or DVDs onto your computer, you are vulnerable to viruses.

Fortunately, there are good guys working just as hard as the hackers to develop cures for viruses as quickly as they send them off into cyberspace. And there are many things you can do to keep your computer from catching viruses in the first place. Defining Viruses: A virus is a small computer program that can copy and spread itself from one computer to another, with or without the help of the user. However, viruses typically do more than just be fruitful and multiply, which is bad enough in itself because it hogs system resources. Anything else viruses are programmed to do, from displaying annoying messages to destroying files, is called their payload. Often, they cannot deliver their payload until an unsuspecting user does something to make the virus execute its programmed function. This could be as simple as clicking on an innocent looking file attachment with the .exe (executable) extension. Catching a Virus: Most viruses are spread through e-mail attachments because it's the easiest way to do it.
   
Although Macintosh, Unix, and Linux systems can catch viruses, hackers are particularly keen on exploiting the security weaknesses in anything Microsoft, particularly Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express. Because of the popularity of this software, hackers get maximum bang for their buck, and they probably get some satisfaction from continually reminding Microsoft that being big doesn't mean you're perfect. Anti-virus Software Your first line of defense is to install anti-virus software. To be extra safe, also install firewall software, which is now included in some anti-virus packages. This software can scan all of your drives for viruses and neutralize them. Here are some features to consider when evaluating anti-virus software. - Compatibility with your operating system - Make sure the software works with your system, particularly if you are using an older operating system like Windows 98. - Firewall software - If it's not included, find out if it's available. If you must, buy it from another vendor.
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