Virus: a software program capable of reproducing itself and usually capable of causing great harm to files or other programs on the your computer.

The rules for virus avoidance are:


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  • Install only commercial software from CD-ROM's (or DVDs) purchased legitimately from a legitimate software vendor. (CD-ROM software is safer than floppy disks because the CD-ROM cannot be written to and therefore cannot be infected after it leaves the factory.)
  • When downloading applications from the Internet, download from reputable sites. Software downloaded from the software manufacturer is generally safer than software downloaded from other sites or private bulletin board services.
  • Have a good virus scanner loaded on your computer and update the virus data files regularly. Makers of virus scanning software regularly update the virus data files because of the new viruses that are being made.
  • Use a virus scanner to check any floppy disks that are placed in your computer, and to check any application file that you have downloaded from the Internet BEFORE installing or using it on your machine.
E-Mail Viruses

Be aware that it is not possible to get a virus by just reading an e-mail, unless the e-mail contains a macro or attachment that you then execute.

Here are two simple rules that, if followed, will protect you from e-mailed virus:
  • If you ever read a mail message and you get a warning that alerts you that the mail contains macros, make sure that you select the option to disable macros before you continue.
  • If you ever receive a mail message that contains an attachment, do not open the attachment until you have checked that the attachment does not contain a virus. Virus scanning software is used to check files for virus contamination.
You should also be aware that both Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word have a built-in macro checker that will alert you to the existence of a macro in a file that you open as long as you do not disable this function.

Virus Avoidance and Removal Software

Virus scanning software has a dual purpose, to check files to identify applications that may be infected and to remove (clean) the virus code from infected files. There are many good virus-scanning packages available at most computer software vendors at quite reasonable prices. Nevertheless, keep in mind that it is easier and safer to avoid getting a virus in the first place than to try and have it cleaned from the computer.