Is Your Software Safe? A Guide to Computer Viruses

A computer virus is a piece of software, or code, that can attach itself to other programs when executed. Once attached, each time these programs run, the virus has the ability to replicate. Computer viruses are man-made and can cause many computer issues. While some viruses are harmless, many have the potential to cause the destruction of a computer. There are various types of viruses that can infect a computer including Trojan horses, email viruses, and worms, and all can infect computers in different ways. Luckily, there are steps that can be taken to keep computers safe from harmful viruses and malware.

Trojan Horse Viruses

A Trojan horse virus mimics a normal downloadable program, for instance a game. What is downloaded, however, is a virus that can cause varying degrees of damage, such as erasing a disk. Trojans differ from traditional viruses as they do not attempt to replicate. They are normally discovered fairly quickly and as such do not affect a large number of people. It is, however, important to keep computers safe from these viruses nonetheless.

Email Viruses

Email viruses have been around since the use of email started to become widespread. Because they are sent via email, and can be sent to a large number of people quickly, email viruses are spread much quicker than traditional viruses. These viruses are generally attached to emails and once downloaded, will attack a computer. They also have the ability to send emails from the infected computer to users in the owner's address book. To avoid email viruses, it is important to only download attachments from trusted sources, and even then, only if you know exactly what it is.


A worm is a type of virus that can wreak havoc on entire systems. Worms are pieces of code that use both security holes and computer networks to replicate themselves and then cause damage. Unsecured servers are especially vulnerable to worms.


Spyware is a type of malicious software that has the ability to track information on your computer. While not all spyware is bad; some can be used for legitimate advertising purposes; other types of spyware can gather personal information from your computer including passwords, and account numbers, along with other sensitive information.

What To Do If You Get A Computer Virus

The use of reliable anti-virus software can oftentimes protect computers from becoming infected. Most of the time, they will take care of the problem before you even know about it. If you are not running anti-virus software and you computer becomes infected, the first thing you should do is download anti-virus software and hopefully that will take care of the problem. If this doesn't work to clear you computer of the virus, it may be advisable to call a professional for help.

Protecting Your Computer From Viruses

With the expanding use of technology, computers are not the only items that need to be protected against viruses. Items such as smartphones, tablets, and other devices need to be protected from harmful viruses as well. Anti-virus software is the best way to protect against viruses. There are many different anti-virus options on the market in a range of prices and with a range of different features. Along with anti-virus software, firewalls should be utilized and precautions should be taken with email attachments.

Ultimately, computers and other electronic devices can be kept safe from malicious software and other threats, with the proper precautions. Because the threat of viruses is constantly evolving along with the viruses themselves, it is important to keep your computer security up to date to ensure protection from.

The following resources provide additional information on computer viruses.