Computer Virus Close-up
The damage done depends on how the virus is written. Some may do little or no damage, while some may completely destroy your files or render your machine unusable.
Trojan horse program is often confused with viruses. Actually it is not a virus (because it does not attach itself to other programs), but pretends to be a useful program such as a new release of famous application. When you run it, it may delete files on your hard disk or do other damage to your PC.
Ways of Getting Infected
In order to activate a virus, your computer has to execute the virus program code by booting from an infected floppy, running an infected application, or opening a program attached to an E-mail (or a Word document) with macro embedded.
Will My PC be Infected if I Read E-mail or Surf on the Internet?
On the other hand, it is safe to open files that the computer treats as pure data. This includes opening graphics and sound files such as .gif, .jpg, .mp3, .wav, and plain text files.
What to Do if My PC Gets Infected
If a virus does infect your PC, you can run the anti-virus program to remove it. Simply follow the instructions of the anti-virus program. If the virus destroys some of your data, you can restore these files from your most recent backup. Remember to check the files you restore to make sure these backups were not infected. If you do not feel comfortable doing it yourself, ask a technical person to do it for you.
General Tips on Avoiding Virus Infections
Backup your data regularly. This can protect your data not only from virus attack, but also from hardware failure. A recent backup may be the only way to recover your data after virus attack or hardware failure.
Install anti-virus software from well-known and reputable companies. Do not forget to update it regularly. It is even better to enable the real-time scanning feature of the anti-virus program every time you boot your system, so that it will check for viruses each time your computer accesses an executable file (but slowing down the program activation time).
Scan any new programs or document files that may contain executable code before you run or open them, especially those files you download from the Internet and the attachments in the document files.
Do not open e-mail and its attachments from unknown source. Delete it immediately if suspicious.
Do not download and run programs from unknown sites.
Do not use piracy software.
Apply patches regularly and timely to the operating system, browser, e-mail client, etc. in order to fix security holes.
Extra cautions need to be taken during holiday seasons especially at Christmas and New Year. These are the high-risk periods for your computer to be infected by computer virus, as people like to send e-mail to each other with greeting cards, pictures or even executable programs attached. If your PC unfortunately gets infected, please contact our Help Desk at ext. 7658 without delay.