1. Virus, Worm, Trojan and Other Security Threats

a. Virus, Worms, and Trojans

 Computer virus is software that is designed to inflict some damage in computers and spread itself from one computer to another. That’s where the term ‘virus’ comes from, the ability to spread and infect another system. A virus is usually placed into a frequently used program so that program will run the attached virus program as it runs. Therefore, it is said that the virus "infects" the executable file. These executable files include system files and application programs.

Once you run a program or application in which the virus is present or start your computer from a disk that has infected system files, the virus becomes active. Once a virus is active, it loads into your computer's memory. Once in memory, one of a number of things can happen, from just annoying pop-ups to deletion of your entire data.

The virus may be programmed to attach to other applications reside in any disks or folders. Any removable media such as floppy disk and flash disk without any protection or encryption can easily being hitchhiked by a virus to spread on another computer. Optical disc such as CD or DVD not like general assumption can easily become one of the medium. Why? Because not like the old days when CDs are produced by large corporate who has clean systems to produce these kind of media, nowadays CD and DVD can be produced in any house in the world with very poor protection of virus. It may infect a network if given the opportunity. Internet is a true ‘marketplace’ for this kind of threat to spread as easy as toxic gas spread out in the air.

There are another two threats that resemble virus in the way they inflict damages. They are Trojan and Worm. The first one, Trojan, is a program that appears or promotes itself unharmed but actually has the ability to do some damage. Some Trojans even introduce themselves as antivirus, worm removal, or any software that has the capabilities to remove malicious threats while in reality they are the culprit themselves.

The second one, worm, is very similar like a computer virus but it does not need a host program inside of which it will reside to spread from one computer to another. Its self-replicating capability has reached an alarming rate over the past year and has resulted some panicking cases over the internet due to its replicating speed and range of infection.

There is one more threat that inflicts damage more to the psychology of the PC users themselves rather than the actual system. It is called hoax. Hoax is a psychological threat that exists because uneducated users perception regarding virus and other malicious software or exist because an early and false analysis of some system anomaly that in fact turns out to be just bugs or system errors. But basically hoax or not, you can guarantee that there are several things that virus cannot do. The most important thing to remember is that it cannot damage computer hardware, well at least not directly.

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Quick Tips

Some of the symptoms of your infected system:

1.        running too slowly lately

2.        displaying fatal error messages

3.        displaying distorted menus and dialog boxes

4.        preventing you from running or accessing some specific programs or files

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