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A computer virus is engineered to spread from host to host, much like a flu virus, and has the capacity to replicate itself. Similarly, in the same way as viruses are unable to replicate without a host cell, without programming such as a file or text, computer viruses can not replicate and spread.
A computer virus is, in more technical terms, a form of malicious code or programme written to modify the way a computer works and designed to spread from one computer to another. In order to execute its code, a virus operates by adding or attaching itself to a valid programme or document supporting macros. A virus can cause unexpected or damaging effects in the process, such as damaging the software of the system by corrupting or destroying data.
The virus may lie dormant after a virus has successfully attached to a programme, file, or document until circumstances trigger the machine or system to execute its code. You have to run the infected software in order for a virus to infect your computer, which in turn allows the virus code to be executed. This means that, without displaying significant signs or symptoms, a virus will stay dormant on your machine. However, the virus can infect other computers on the same network once the virus infects your computer. Just a few of the devastating and annoying things a virus can do are stealing passwords or information, recording keystrokes, corrupting data, spamming your email addresses, and even taking over your computer.
Although some viruses can be playful in purpose and effect, others can have profound and destructive consequences, such as erasing data or causing your hard disc permanent damage, and worse still, some are even built with financial benefits in mind.
You can contract a computer virus in many ways in today's constantly linked environment, some more apparent than others. Viruses can be transmitted through attachments to emails and text messages, downloads of internet files, links to social media scams, and even mobile devices and smartphones can get infected with mobile viruses through downloads of shady software. Viruses may conceal socially exchanged content, such as funny pictures, greeting cards, or audio and video files, disguised as attachments.
It's necessary to exercise caution when surfing the web, downloading files, and opening links or attachments to avoid contact with a virus. Never download text or email attachments you don't expect as a best practise, or files from websites you don't trust.