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Antivirus Software

May 26, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

Antivirus software has become a must for all home computer users and home office workers. Any Internet connection makes a computer susceptible to a myriad of attacks from malicious viruses and software, such as malware or spyware.  Antivirus software is critical to monitor, detect, and clean any computer viruses from your computer’s systems.

Even if you are careful with your Internet activity and downloads, these bugs can still find ways to attack your computer.

How Do Computer Viruses Work?

Like biological viruses, computer viruses are passed from one computer to another.  Viruses are piggybacked on top of some other program, like software or a document, and will infect other systems once they are run.  

Types of Computer Viruses

There are several types of electronic infections, like viruses, email viruses, worms, and Trojan horses.  A virus is a small piece of software that is attached to another program and is set into motion anytime the program is running.  When the initial program is running, the virus takes the opportunity to attach itself to other programs and wreak havoc on your computer.

Email viruses are sent from one computer to another via email messages.  Many email viruses replicate themselves by automatically mailing themselves to other contacts in the victims email contact list.

Trojan horses are disguised as one thing, like games, but have malicious programs hidden in the software coding.  Once downloaded and running, these programs can do damage to your computer systems and settings and may even delete your hard drive.

Finally, a worm is a small piece of software that uses computer networks and security holes to replicate itself.  A worm will scan a computer network to find another machine with a security hole and copy itself to that new machine.  This process continues as the worm finds new machines to replicate and the problems for computer users continue to grow.

Updating Antivirus Software

Because of these ever-increasing threats, it is critical that your computer’s antivirus software is updated on a regular basis.  New computer viruses are created and deployed every day.  Your antivirus software provider will notify you when it is time to update your software.  This process should be done at least once every two weeks.  Don’t take chances with your computer system and personal information – install antivirus software and maintain it regularly!

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