Computer Viruses

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Brodels816@aol.comthis is for college level computer...i got a 95% on it...hopefully it willhelp someone. Protection Against Viruses for All The word virus can be very disheartening, especially when computers areinvolved. A virus is composed of instructions hidden inside a program. Theseinstructions copy themselves to other programs, a nd the cycle continuesspreading. Fortunately, help is available; antivirus software is available toanyone. "Viruses first appeared in 1985. Then, they were largely created inuniversity laboratories by mostly wayward geniuses keen to pit theirprogramming skills against each other. Since then, errant programmers beganto create newer and more destructive viruses targeted at specific usergroups." (Yang, 1998) A computer virus can be as "evil as it sounds, snakingits way into personal computers, posing an occasional annoyance or a seriousthreat to all data." (Miastkowski, 1998) Symptoms can range from unpleasantto fatal. Computer viruses spread from program to program and computer tocomputer, "much as biological viruses spread within individual...members of asociety." (Chess, 1997) Diskettes were the "primary carriers of viruses inthe 1980s." ("Computer," 1997) Today, they are e-mail attachments, filetransfers and infected software downloads or uploads. Networks can evenspread viruses to large numbers of connected PCs rapidly. (Yang, 1998) Noone working on a [personal computer] is risk free; more viruses are beingspread today than ever before, but more help is being developed as well.Special software is now in stores that will help to prevent any majordisasters that viruses can cause. (Miastkowski, 1998) Antivirus software isa program that protects against viruses. It scans all files on the hard disk,diskettes, CD ROM, and memory to locate viruses. ("Computer," 1997) The life cycle of a virus is rather complicated; it begins when a user runsan infected program. The computer copies the program from the disk into RAM,random access memory, where it can be performed. The viral code begins torun, and the virus copies itself into a part of RAM that is separate from theprogram. This allows the pesky virus to continue to spread while anotherprogram is running, until it is finished and passes back into the infectedprogram. "When the user runs a different program, the dormant virus begins torun again. It inserts a copy...into the...uninfected software so that thecycle...can repeat." (Chess, 1997) There are also other computer pests suchas "worms" that effect networks, but viruses are the most common. (Yang,1998) Years of research have allowed scientists to find ways to detect and destroyviruses. (Chess, 1997) "Building on decades of research by mathematicalepidemiologists, [researchers] have obtained some understanding of the factorsthat govern how quickly viruses spread.

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