Factoid: ''According to McAfee,Inc. a leading security company in Santa Clara, CA, there are 81,000 known viruses currently in existence and on average, over 300 new viruses are discovered every month.''
Statistic: It costs the average PC user around $500 to recover from a single virus infection. (McAfee Security Inc. 7/04)
Learning about viruses is an important step in helping you protect yourself against this devastating threat. We've put together a list of the most common questions.
• How real is the threat?
• What is a virus?
• Is it possible to get a virus from a Web site?
• How do I prevent known viruses from getting onto my computer?
• Can an email message or attachment infect my computer with a virus?
• How do I know if a virus has infected my computer?
How real is the threat?
According to McAfee, a leading security company and division of Santa Clara, CA-based Network Associates, there are 81,000 known viruses currently in existence and on average, over 300 new viruses are discovered every month. Fortunately, there are ways to help protect yourself.
What is a virus?
A virus is a computer program that attaches to your files or disks and copies itself repeatedly. Viruses can attach to program files, such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft Works. Every time you open one of these files the virus is ''activated'' and can cause damage.
Is it possible to get a virus from a Web site?
It is possible, in some cases, to get a virus over the Web, simply by visiting an infected Web site. You can also get a virus by downloading files from a site. If such a file contains a virus and you open the file, your computer could become infected.
To help protect yourself, it is important that you regularly update your operating system and browser software. In addition, we recommend that you install anti-virus software on your system and keep it up to date.
When in doubt, don't visit the site and don't download the file.
How do I prevent known viruses from getting onto my computer?
The best way to help protect yourself is to install an anti-virus program. There are several good virus protection programs. Because there are new viruses every day, make sure the solution you choose has an automatic update feature so you always have the latest protection.
Get the most out of your anti-virus program. Run it as recommended by the provider, and if it has an automatic virus-scanning feature, keep it turned on. Heed all warnings that your anti-virus software provides. Always install the latest version of your anti-virus program; updates often contain information about new viruses.
Protect your PC both online and offline by regularly scanning all potential virus sources -- including music downloads, digital pictures and multi-media downloads from Web sites, disks, CD-ROMS or DVDs.
CompuServe makes finding anti-virus software easy by providing you with direct links to preferred vendors offering reputable anti-virus solutions.
Can an email message or email attachment infect my computer with a virus?
Yes. Today's viruses are more and more sophisticated. Some viruses can spread to your computer when you simply read an email message. Email messages may also have attachments (also called enclosures) that could contain a virus. Your computer could become infected if you download an email message that has such an attachment, and you then open the attachment.
Fortunately, your CompuServe subscription already includes protection against known viruses attached to emails that you receive in your CompuServe email box. CompuServe automatically scans e-mail attachments you send or receive from your CompuServe email for known viruses, worms and Trojan horses. This service is included as part of your CompuServe monthly membership fee. The scanning takes place on all versions of CompuServe software on both PC and Mac.
How do I know if a virus has infected my computer?
The symptoms of a virus infection are varied, from a computer that slows down to a computer that actually shuts down or crashes. In some cases, there may not be any symptoms at all. The best way to be certain is to scan your computer on a regular basis.