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Last modified: Friday, February 18, 2005 

A program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge and runs against your wishes. Viruses can also replicate themselves. All computer viruses are manmade. A simple virus that can make a copy of itself over and over again is relatively easy to produce. Even such a simple virus is dangerous because it will quickly use all available memory and bring the system to a halt. An even more dangerous type of virus is one capable of transmitting itself across networks and bypassing security systems.

Since 1987, when a virus infected ARPANET, a large network used by the Defense Department and many universities, many antivirus programs have become available. These programs periodically check your computer system for the best-known types of viruses.

Some people distinguish between general viruses and worms. A worm is a special type of virus that can replicate itself and use memory, but cannot attach itself to other programs.

Also see The Difference Between a Virus, Worm and Trojan Horse  in the Did You Know? section of Webopedia.

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For pages about virus . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

AVP Virus Encyclopedia 
The AVP Virus Encyclopedia contains over 2300 computer virus descriptions accessible by keyword search or alphabetical index. The AVP Virus Encyclopedia is also available as a freeware distribution.

Downloadable virus scanning software 
Provides links to downloadable software for virus scanning. Included are VirusScan and TBAV for Windows, and F-PROT.

eSecurity Planet 
A resource for daily information on e-security targeted to IT managers. The site provides users with information from a variety of sources, including experts at security product and services firms, and the consultants who follow the security industry.

McAfee virus information home page 
McAfee Associates specializes in network and security management. This page displays company news and product information, as well as links to virus descriptions and online technical support.

PC Housekeeping: Optimize With Maintenance 
Spring cleaning isn’t just for dusty closets, and it isn’t just for spring. Do you know what to do to keep your PC running at peak performance? Why not learn?

Symantec Antivirus Research Center 
The Symantec Antivirus Research Center offers a wealth of information on viruses. It begins with a list of hot topics (new virus and virus products), and also provides links to virus alerts, an information database, references, submit virus samples, Macintosh viruses, and Symantec virus product information.

The CERT/CC Home Page 
Learn about the organizations mission and get up-to-date security information, security alerts and training information.

CIAC Virus Myth and Hoaxes Site
Created as a public service by the Computer Incident Advisory Capability (CIAC) to educate people about virus myths and hoaxes.

Computer Virus Myths
Contains information about the newest hoaxes as well as background on computer viruses and myths, opinions and editorials, and recommended books and Web sites.

Dr. Solomon's computer virus information site
This site is dedicated to users of Dr. Soloman's virus and information technology security products, and provides links to a virus information center, product and company information, and related Web links.

Hartmann's In-The-Wild Macro Virus List
Describes macro viruses reported by anti-virus software manufacturers.

How a Computer Virus Works
Explains the different types of viruses and how they work.

Overview of computer viruses and anti-virus software
Explains how viruses work and provides links to additional information about viruses and anti-virus software. Written and maintained by Bob Kanish.
Information on the latest security vulnerabilities, free SecurityTracker Alerts, and customized vulnerability notification services.

Virus Info Database
This is Symantec's Virus Info Database. You can search for a virus by name or refer to general virus information.

Virus Information Index
An alphabetical list of virus names which link to a summary and virus details.

VIRUS-L/comp.virus FAQ
Answers some frequently asked questions about computer viruses. This FAQ has been compiled by some of the main contributors to the Virus-L mailing list and its USENET news fan-out, comp.virus.

What Keeps Computers Safe
Here's the scoop on the differences between hardware and software firewalls, virus protection, and why you need them.

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related categories




related terms

antivirus program

bootable diskette


Content Vectoring Protocol

data recovery

data vaulting


macro virus

multipartite virus

polymorphic virus


stealth virus

Trojan horse

virus signature

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