Virus Help & Hoaxes
Taken from McAfee's Virus Glossary
A computer program file capable of attaching to disks or other files and replicating itself repeatedly, typically without user knowledge or permission. Some viruses attach to files so when the infected file executes, the virus also executes. Other viruses sit in a computer's memory and infect files as the computer opens, modifies or creates the files.
Some viruses display symptoms, and some viruses damage files and computer systems, but neither symptoms nor damage is essential in the definition of a virus; a non-damaging virus is still a virus.
There are computer viruses written for several operating systems including DOS, Windows, Amiga, Macintosh, Atari, and UNIX, and others. McAfee.com presently detects more than 57,000 viruses, Trojans, and other malicious software. (Note: The preferred plural is the English form: viruses)
Hoaxes are not viruses, but are usually deliberate or unintentional e-messages warning people about a virus or other malicious software program. Some hoaxes cause as much trouble as viruses by causing massive amounts of unnecessary e-mail.
Most hoaxes contain one or more of the following characteristics:
If you receive an e-mail message about a virus, check with a reputable source to ensure the warning is real. Visit McAfee.com's Virus Hoax page (http://vil.mcafee.com/hoax.asp) to learn about hoaxes and the damage they cause. Sometimes hoaxes start out as viruses and some viruses start as hoaxes, so both viruses and virus hoaxes should be considered a threat.
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