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Virus Alerts and News

For up to date virus warnings and to see which viruses caused the most trouble in the previous month please check the two charts below:

What is a Virus?
A virus is a manmade program or piece of code that causes an unexpected, usually negative, event. Viruses are often disguised games or images with clever titles such as "A very humour game."
 
What is a Worm?
Worms are programs that replicate themselves from system to system without the use of a host file. This is in contrast to viruses, which requires the spreading of an infected host file. Although worms generally exist inside of other files, often Word or Excel documents, there is a difference between how worms and viruses use the host file. Usually the worm will release a document that already has the "worm" macro inside the document. The entire document will travel from computer to computer, so the entire document should be considered the worm.
 
What is a Trojan Horse?
Trojan Horses are impostors--files that claim to be something desirable but, in fact, are malicious. A very important distinction between Trojan horse programs and true viruses is that they do not replicate themselves. Trojans contain malicious code that when triggered cause loss, or even theft, of data. For a Trojan horse to spread, you must, invite these programs onto your computers--for example, by opening an email attachment or downloading and running a file from the Internet.
 
 

What is a virus hoax?
Virus hoaxes are messages, almost always sent by email, that amount to little more than chain letters. Some of the common phrases used in these hoaxes are:

  • If you receive an email titled [email virus hoax name here], do not open it!
  • Delete it immediately!
  • It contains the [hoax name] virus.
    It will delete everything on your hard drive and [extreme and improbable danger specified here].
  • This virus was announced today by [reputable organization name here].
  • Forward this warning to everyone you know!

Most virus hoax warnings do not deviate far from this pattern. If you are unsure if a virus warning is legitimate or a hoax, additional information is available at:
http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.html

 
 
Virus, Worm, and Trojan definitions provided by Symantec and McAffee. Top 10 charts courtesy of Sophos.
 


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