A virus is a malicious, self-replicating program that propagates by inserting copies of itself into other executable code or documents, thereby infecting the files. Viruses are intended to be passed quickly among many users. Viruses come in different forms such as worms, bombs, and trojan horses. Some viruses are fairly benign and simply cause and annoyance or interruption for the recipient. However many viruses intentionally damage or destroy programs and files. Viruses are typically passed via e-mail attachments, instant messaging programs, or from harmful Internet links that have been accessed while surfing.
- Do not open any e-mail or e-mail attachment(s) if you are not familiar with the sender.
- Only open e-mail attachments which you are expecting or ones from highly trusted sources; when in doubt, check with the sender to verify authenticity.
- Delete unsolicited e-mail (SPAM) without opening it.
- Use caution when clicking on links or downloading files from the Internet.
- If a message suddenly appears in your AIM profile that you did not create, it is a virus and needs cleaned; be wary of clickable links in the profiles of others.
- Scan your computer frequently for spyware using Spybot Search & Destroy (free download available).
- Protect your files by backing them up to a network drive or portable media regularly.