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Virus (Boot, Script, Macro, Worm) Families and Habitats

Viruses - Families and Habitats

Computer viruses of one kind or another have infected the Internet since its very first years of existence. Virus protection is now required technology for everyone that uses the Internet.

Signs that your computer might have a virus could include spontaneous startup of programs like email programs, unexplained attempts by programs on your computer to access the Internet, changes in file date stamps, unusually slow program load or run times, lots of unexplained disk activity, or failure of a program or your computer to start. However, if you have an anti-virus protection running, then problems like a slow computer or lots of disk activity are most likely caused by an inefficient system configuration, not enough memory, a fragmented disk, or other benign causes, since most viruses won't give any visible signs.

Some viruses are only annoying, displaying a message, using extra memory or disk, or changing file names. However, some are destructive and will change files and erase data, and some will erase your entire hard drive. Some run silently in the background and give outside agents complete control of your computer without your knowledge whenever you are connected to the Internet.

The Internet gives viruses a particularly efficient new path for global infection. Some email viruses have spread around the world and brought down tens of thousands of computers in just a few hours. It is absolutely essential that you run an anti-virus protection program to safeguard your computer from these serious threats. The following sections provide more information: