Computer Viruses: How Serious a Threat?

July 1998
by Reid Goldsborough

« Back to Independent Articles

How many times have you heard a comment like this: “My computer is acting up. It must be a virus.” Truth is, most computer glitches are caused by software conflicts or “user error.”
Viruses do get a lot of publicity, and it’s easy to see why. They have an ominous and mysterious aura. But just how can a machine catch a virus? And can computer viruses, like such human viruses as HIV, be deadly?

Virus Basics
Computer viruses are simply small computer programs whose sole aim is to do harm. They’re written by disturbed individuals, the kind of sociopaths who place razor blades in apples at Halloween. Like human viruses, computer viruses can replicate, spreading like a disease from one computer to another through shared floppy disks, infected CD-ROMs, contaminated files attached to e-mail messages, or over the Internet. Some viruses-more hoaxes than true viruses-are innocuous, doing no more harm than scaring people with a message flashing on screen that reads “Gotcha!” Other viruses can destroy all the data on your hard drive.

Practical Self-Defense & Antivirus Software

Computer viruses can’t harm your hardware. So the first line of defense, as with every potential computer disaster, is to make regular backups of the vital data stored on your hard drive and to ensure that the backups themselves are reliable. The next safety step is to consider using antivirus software. Some people suspect that new viruses are created and spread by the very companies who develop anti…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

Join Today!

« Back to Independent Articles

How to Get Involved!
Marketing Opportunities

From mailings to exhibits, see how IBPA's marketing programs help you grow your sales.

Educational Opportunities

Attend a seminar, ask an expert, and get more free advice with our educational programs.

Become a member

Access exclusive members-only benefits starting at just $10.