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Anti-Virus Software

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Beginners, Glossary and Background

A virus program has two components: a means of reproducing itself and a payload. It reproduces itself by attaching copies of itself to files, which when executed, will produce further copies. The payload may produce a message on the users screen or it may cause corruption and loss of data.

Anti-virus software works by searching files and looking for specific patterns present in a particular type of virus, or by detecting changes in existing files. You can protect yourself from viruses by installing anti-viral software (which should be kept up-to-date) and by employing strict procedures to prevent users from bringing in files that are contaminated with a virus.

Hoax warnings of fictitious viruses also waste time so take care not to pass on a warning without verifying it first. Here is information about email hoaxes.

Authors of viruses have no means of controlling the damage caused be a virus once they have let it loose. They should not be surprised by the stiff penalties for such irresponsible and reckless behaviour.

See also Glossary of Virus Terms , Computer Assocaites


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26 October, 2000
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