What is a computer virus?
Viruses are malicious software programs that easily replicate themselves, infect your computer, and often spread to other computers. The spreading of viruses is often done via e-mail attachments or network traffic.
What risks are involved?
Virus programs can delete files, format disks, attack other computers or slow your system down. They can also create "backdoors" that allow hackers to run programs on your computer or gain access to your files.
How do I know if I have a computer virus?
To find out more on determining if your computer is infected visit our FAQ on infected computers.
What can I do to protect myself?
- Install antivirus software on your computer and run daily updates. Visit our antivirus Web site.
- Install updates at your operating systems's Web site.
- Mac users: http://www.apple.com/support.
- Windows users: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-update.
- Do NOT open e-mail attachments with suspicious subject lines, file names, or messages. Some viruses can forge themselves to appear as if they are from someone you know, therefore, the "from" line alone cannot be trusted.
- Be aware that viruses may come to you in links sent via instant messaging, e-mail attachments, infected disks, freeware, shareware, or file-sharing.