About Computer Viruses

A Brief History of Computer Viruses…and a Refresher on Protection

When you hear the word “virus” in regards to computer terminology, you probably think of something unleashed on the public after the Internet became mainstream, say in the mid-to-late-90s. However, the first known virus (aptly titled “Brain”) actually hit systems several years before that. Brain wiped out MS-DOS systems in early 1986; two years later, computer programmer Robert Morris released a worm that disabled nearly 6,000 ARPANET – an early predecessor of the Internet – systems.

If you do not know, a virus is a computer program (code) that reproduces itself and infiltrates a computer within minutes, causing sometimes irreversible damage. Although many people think they are one in the same, a virus is a little different from a worm, in that the latter spreads from one computer to another through a network, without a human being involved.

In the more than a quarter century since “Brain”, viruses, worms, and other types of malware have become a little more advanced, disguising themselves as innocent links or emails. Some, like “Melissa” and “The Love Bug” from 1999 and 2000 respectively, crippled networks and systems worldwide, causing billions of dollars’ worth of damage. With a quick click, you could find yourself fighting to recover lost files and/or data from your PC.

One way to prevent that from happening is by using up-to-date anti-virus software. There are many to choose from – avast!, AVG, and the traditional stalwarts, McAfee and Norton. You can find inexpensive, if not software, both of which provide extensive benefits. Make sure you run a full system scan at least once a week to ensure your machine runs properly. In addition, most of these anti-virus programs require annual registration updates. Do not take those requests lightly, you can renew both programs that you downloaded for free, as well as any you purchased.

Another thing to remember when protecting your computer is to change your passwords regularly. Try to avoid using something that is common knowledge, like your name or address. Many sites now require at least one capital letter, a punctuation mark, and/or a number. While it may seem cumbersome to remember this, it is worth it, as opposed to having to pay to replace everything. Also, never give out your password, and try not to use the same one for multiple sites.

If a virus strikes and wipes out your system, we can help you recover some lost files and get back on track. In addition, we will set up a secure network that will prevent any future attacks from happening. Call or email us today to find out more about our professional computer services!