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Just what can these things called Viruses do?

A virus is by definition, a cracker program that searches out other
programs, and “infects” them by embedding a copy of itself in them, so
that they become Trojan horses. When these programs are executed, the
embedded virus is executed too, thus propagating the “infection”. This
normally happens invisibly to the user.

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Just what can these things called Viruses do, and what you can do to
protect yourself against them.

People can contract viruses in many ways, including sharing floppy disks
with friends. After all, most viruses were written to be spread and what
better way to do that than to jump off on to an unsuspecting floppy and go
for a ride. When the floppy is inserted into another PC the virus jumps
off and now has a new home.

Another way of getting viruses is on-line. You can download a virus and
run it on your system without even knowing it, until its too late. Be
Careful What You Download
. Most Viruses need to be “run” or “executed”
in some way to be brought to life (whether the virus is the executable
file or whether it is embedded in one). Executable files can be in many
formats but usually end in .exe , .ini , .sys , .bat . Once
launched they can attach to many different types of files, from the CMOS
on your computer (Kind of like the DNA of your computer) to a simple word
document. There is a wealth of information on the Internet and many useful
files, just make sure the site you are downloading from is a respected
one. Most major sites are virus free, but if you go to and download a file called doh.exe and get a virus,
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Top Ten Reasons To Continue Reading This Page

Once brought to life, viruses can do many things. Here is a brief
discription of the top 10 viruses listed at Mcafee’s (more on Mcafee later). The
headings contain virus specific links.

  1. NYB Virus
    – NYB is a memory resident Master Boot Record (MBR)/Boot Sector
    infector. MBR/Boot Sector viruses are some of the most successful viruses
    (good for it, bad for you). They are fairly easy to write, and they take
    control of the computer at a low level.
  2. Monkey
    – The Monkey is a memory resident infector of the hard disk
    Master Boot Record (MBR) and the boot sector of diskettes.
  3. Concept
    – This virus propagates by infecting Word Documents in
    Microsoft WORD Versions 6.x / 7.x / 97 on Windows and Macintosh platforms.
    The virus consists of these macros: AUTOOPEN, AAAZFS, AAAZAO, PAYLOAD in an infected document. Their
  4. Antiexe
    – Can be a nasty one. The AntiEXE virus overwrites the
    Master Boot Record (MBR) of your hard drive. The virus contains all of the
    standard information of a normal MBR. The virus is destructive in one
    circumstance, if the user presses the key combination of Ctrl and Break,
    while the virus is accessing the disk, then the virus overwrites the first
    8 sectors of every head and track on the drive starting at Side 0, Sector
    4. Very bad.
  5. Anticmos
    – A poorly written but never-the-less annoying virus,
    AntiCMOS is capable of erasing the system’s CMOS or Setup information, but
    does not infect files on the system. Additionally, because this virus
    makes changes to the system’s Master Boot Record (MBR), the user may
    experience problems during the boot-up process.
  6. Wazzu
    – Similar to the CONCEPT Virus.
  7. FORM Virus
    – Form is a Boot Sector, memory resident virus. The Form virus
    inhabits both a portion of high DOS memory and also the last two sectors
    on the hard drive. The virus does not infect files. Usually there is no
    damage done to data on the hard drive. However, it may corrupt the
    contents of infected diskettes.
  8. Stealth_C
    – Stealth_C is a memory resident stealth virus which infects
    the system’s Master Boot Record (MBR) and diskette Boot Sectors.
  9. MDMA Virus
    – Another MicroSoft Word Virus
  10. Junkie
    – More of a pain than anything else. Virus Junkie is a
    multi-partite, memory resident, encrypting virus. Junkie specifically
    targets .COM files, the DOS boot sector on floppy diskettes and the Master
    Boot Record (MBR).

Well those were 10 of the culprits and what they are capable of doing,
some are nothing more than annoying while others can truly make life
miserable. So are you wishing I explained the Long Distance Calling Plans
instead? These are only the top 10 and by no means a complete list. There
are literally thousands that have come and gone with hundreds of new ones
being written every month. Not to mention the virus “Hoaxes” that people
hear stories of, that do not exist.

“How do I get rid of these things”

  • First off, as I
    mentioned earlier, Practice Safe Computing, be careful when
    borrowing floppy disks from other people: Know what software you are
    downloading and make sure it is coming from a trusted site.
  • Second , no matter how safe you are, sooner or later you will come in
    contact with a virus and you will need to deal with it. First choice is
    to jump up and down screaming “WHY ME WHY ME,” though this is
    amusing to on-lookers, it will not get rid of the virus. You will need an
    antivirus program of some kind. Below are some recommendations on
    antivirus software and places you can download them from.

    • Mcafee Virus software for
      most DOS and Windows platforms, Fill out the form and you will be able
      to download demo versions. A note on demos and shareware programs, these
      programs generally are going to run out of time for you to use them until you register them.
      Benefits of registering them are worthwhile, you get technical support
      from them as well as future upgrades and with viruses being created all
      the time it is worth it.
    • ThunderBYTE
      AntiVirus Software for Most Dos and Windows Platforms. Another fine
      AntiVirus product also worth trying. Registering also comes with the same
    • Norton
      AntiVirus Software covers the major platforms and they have been at it
      for a long time.

The above products can be downloaded and
tried for free, but read the agreements for each in the documentaion that
they have on their sites, as well as the product info. All are available
for purchase, roughly around $50-60, in most software stores. The
investment is well worth it.

[read the review on Top 5 Reasons to Learn Programming]

If you suspect that you already have a virus, then downloading an
antivirus program may not work for you, but is still worth a try. If this
does not clean the virus then you will need to boot your system from a
clean boot disk that is write protected, if you are on Windows 3.x
then you can boot off a DOS disk and insert whatever antivirus program you
have (either purchased or downloaded from a “virus free computer”) and run
the scan program. If you are on Windows 95 machine then they usually come
with a “Start Up Disk.” Boot from that, then pop in your virus scan disk,
and check for viruses. Then install the antivirus program of your choice
for future protection.

Well, hope this has been helpful, but for more info check out some of the
links below. They will go more in depth as to the viruses that are out
there and what you can do to safeguard against them. Don’t panic tho, get
yourself a good antivirus program and practice safe computing and enjoy

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