Worms, Trojans and Viruses

What is a Virus?

Viruses are pieces of computer code that are usually buried within the code of another program. When the main program is executed the virus is activated and attaches copies of itself to other programs in the system, thereby spreading itself, hence the name virus. These programs are usually designed with malicious intent. The effects of a virus can range from harmless messages that appear on screen to destruction of data, either right away or on a set date. File attachments in e-mail messages are a common source of virus. One rule of thumb is to NEVER double click (execute) an attachment to an e-mail unless you are sure who it is from and that it is safe to do so. Computer viruses can also stop your computer from booting.

How will I know if my computer is infected?

Unfortunately, there’s no one way to spot virus infection. Viruses can affect your computer in many ways. But there are a few obvious things that you should watch for – and treat very seriously.

Some clues to watch for: 

Keep an eye out for:

• Inexplicable excess usage charges
• Sudden or unexplained increases in your usage
• An entire disk or drive being inexplicably erased
• Unexplained changes in data or documents
• Unexplained messages appearing on your screen
• Specific files getting mysteriously deleted
• Unknown files being added to a disk
• Programs running unpredictably or losing functionality
• Operating system software running erratically
• Unexplained printing problems or strange results
• Your keyboard not working properly, or behaving erratically

Of course, there may be other signs and you should be vigilant.

If you ever suspect that your computer has been infected, it can be a good idea to purchase anti-virus software (if you don’t already have it), download the latest virus definitions, and virus-scan your entire system.

No one who uses computers is immune from viruses. Protect your self with antivirus software.

We cannot check the security of information that you download from the Internet, so be very careful who you accept attachments from or where you download information. Remember that executable files can be harmful to your PC if you open them. Firewall software provides an increased security level that many PC users find comforting. The software can detect Trojan programs, provide protection from hackers and prevent unauthorized network access to your computer.

Most Firewall software also reports on what information your PC is broadcasting to the world and highlights potential security concerns. Firewall software is a recommended safe-guard for all users.