To lose one's health renders science
null, art inglorious, strength unavailing, wealth useless, and
eloquence powerless. - Herophilus, ancient Greek physician
If you’ve read technology news lately, chances
are you’ve heard of one of several high-profile computer virus
threats being spread through e-mail.
While the threats may sound alarming, with some common sense and
a dose of protection, you can ward off even the most malicious
of millennial maladies and insidious Internet illnesses.
What is a computer
A computer virus is a program or piece
of code that is designed to copy itself into other programs stored
in your computer, and then spread itself from one computer to
another. Viruses can be benign and not cause harm, or they can have
any of a number of negative effects on your system.
Virus programs are written by computer programmers or
hackers--usually with malicious intent--and are typically spread
through shared documents, spreadsheets, executable files, software
programs, or floppy disks. Viruses can do anything from displaying
random messages or sounds, to damaging data, to wiping out the
contents of your hard disk.
Sound scary? Perhaps, but thankfully it doesn’t need to be.
Protecting your computer and your data is as simple as using
anti-virus software tools to detect and eliminate viruses. Think of
it as a flu shot for your computer.
An ounce of prevention
Microsoft strongly recommends that you always
use up-to-date anti-virus software on your system. An anti-virus
software program will scan your existing files and folders, check
new documents and programs, and perform periodic checks of your
system for viruses. If a virus is found on your computer, the tools
can help to eliminate it and repair your files.
After you install your anti-virus software, it should be set up
to automatically check all new CDs and disks, e-mail attachments,
and files or software you download from the Internet. Keep your
anti-virus software up-to-date, because new viruses are being
written all the time. The best place to find current virus
information is on the Internet, so make sure the company that
supplies your anti-virus software maintains a Web site with
information on current virus threats and upgrades to your anti-virus
Where to find virus
Anti-virus programs are widely available from
a number of third-party vendors. Microsoft
Plus! 98 for Windows 98 includes McAfee
VirusScan®, Network Associates' top-selling anti-virus software, or
Microsoft support has a list
of anti-virus software vendors, complete with contact information and
Web site addresses.
Many of these vendors offer free trial
versions of their software for you to evaluate. Download and use one
of these anti-virus utilities, and you’ll have little to worry about when it comes
to computer viruses. If only preventing the common cold were so easy!
Mark Reed may be afraid of flu shots, but
his anti-virus software is always up-to-date.