Friday, February 1, 2008

What is a Virus?

Everyone that owns a computer has heard of the word “computer virus” or “virus” at some point in their life. The average person may know that a computer virus is not good for their computer and that it can create problems. However, most people do not know the background of the word “computer virus”.

A computer virus is defined as “a computer program that can copy itself and infect a computer without permission or knowledge of the user” ("Virus"). Even though a virus may infect one particular computer it does not mean that it cannot transfer itself to another computer. A virus can be transferred to another computer via the internet, floppy disk, CD, or flash drive. Viruses were created to damage a computer by either deleting files or programs, taking up memory, duplicating itself, or reformatting the hard drive. All of these things greatly affect a computer and can cause the computer to crash and can cause the deletion of data ("Virus").

In the early 1970’s, the first virus was detected on ARPANET and it was called the Creeper Virus. More viruses would follow. The first PC virus was called Brain and it was created by the creators of a program in order to deter people from making illegal copies. With the spread of the internet and software sharing more viruses began to emerge. There are many viruses that work in different ways. There are replication strategies, nonresident virus, and resident virus ("Virus").

A virus is most likely to target Microsoft operating systems versus MAC operating system X. Since Microsoft Office is found on many computers, viruses can attach themselves to Word, Excel or Outlook. Microsoft OS is vulnerable because it dominates the computer market. A virus is created to infect a mass amount of people thus making Microsoft users extremely vulnerable. There would be a less greatly impact from a virus created to target MAC OS X ("Virus").

There are ways to prevent viruses and this includes installing anti-virus programs into one’s computer. These programs are designed to prevent viruses from infecting a computer. Regular backups of data may prevent data loss. A system that is infected by a virus can be fixed by different methods which include: virus removal and operating system installation ("Virus").


"Virus." Wikipedia. Retrieved February 8, 2008, from