What is a computer virus and how to I protect myself against it?
A computer virus is a program, just like a word processor, that rewrites other programs. A virus may simply display a silly message across the screen or create problems such as deleting data off your hard drive. Sometimes the problems are easy to fix, sometimes not. To my knowledge, no computer virus can harm the physical components of the computer, just the data.
A computer ``catches'' a virus when its owner uses information from a computer that has infected files either through floppy disk, a network or the Internet. E-mail does not generally have a virus, but attached files may.
Protect yourself with prevention. Frequently scan your computer for viruses using a software program designed to detect them. When you do get a virus, be sure to scan each and every disk you put in your computer, including backups. Also scan software program disks and CDs.
-- David Greenbaum is director of Geeks on Wheels. You can send him questions at dsg@Geek911.com or at Geeks on Wheels, 1-888-Geek-911, toll-free nationwide.