What is a virus?
A virus is a man-made computer program that, when opened, infects your computer and attempts to spread itself to other computers. It will often attempt to spread via e-mail automatically by sending copies of itself to everyone in your address book.
What is a worm?
Shares most of the traits of a virus, but is able to spread on its own without human interaction.
How do they spread?
Viruses are mainly spread via e-mail, although some websites can infect your computer as well. Worms seek out non-infected computers by searching the network, and then spread themselves by exploiting security weaknesses.
Computer users often install viruses on their computers by accident. Because viruses spread themselves automatically, they often come from friends or family members without their knowledge. Even though an email came from someone you trust, you may still be in danger of contracting a virus. Even if a message comes from a sender you know, be weary if it contains a headline or misspellings that seem unusual, links, or attachments. This may be a virus impersonating the sender.
If someone you know sends you an attachment, scan it with an anti-virus program before you open it. Do not click on suspicious attachments or links.
How do I protect myself and my computer?
- Keep anti-virus software up-to-date so that is able to tackle the newest types of threats to your system.
- Set your anti-virus program to scan at start-up.
- Set your anti-virus program to scan each and every file when it's used by the computer.
- Keep your computer software up-to-date -- both your operating system and applications (even games) that you use!
- Be very careful when using peer-to-peer file sharing programs, viruses are easily spread on these types of services.
- Make sure to scan all downloads with an anti-virus program before installing.
- Don't install any software or programs unless they are from a source you trust.
Don't forget to regularly back up all of your important files. If you do happen to get a virus, even after following all of these helpful tips, you may need to do a system reset on your device to remove a virus. Backing up files ensures your important documents will not be lost if this must be done.