me start by saying that MOST of what you've heard about computer viruses is
probably wrong. Your computer can't get one from a toilet seat, or by getting
sneezed on by another computer that has a virus. You DON'T have to be scared
of computer viruses, but you DO need to take certain precautions to protect
your computer and its data.
issue of TOURBUS will point you to some excellent resources to help you to
learn more about computer viruses (and related nasties), ease your poor troubled
mind, and protect yourself from the threat.
start with a few (somewhat geeky) definitions:
you're not a geek, the difference between these five things is pretty subtle.
One way or another, you're dealing with a malicious entity that can cause damage
to your system. If you like, go ahead and call them all viruses, but beware
that you're likely to be "corrected" by someone with one to many pencils in
his pocket protector.
a program that can infect (invade) other computer programs.
a self-contained program that is able to spread copies of itself, usually over
a program that purports to be fun or useful but actually does something nasty.
It cannot spread like a virus or worm.
an e-mail message that can allegedly cause harm to your computer simply by
opening and reading the message.
These Things For Real?
worms and trojan horses do exist. Maybe you've heard of "Stoned", "Michelangelo"
or others - these are real and can cause serious damage to a single computer
or an entire network. Anything from spurious messages appearing on your screen
to unexplained slowdowns to mangled files to a complete hard disk wipeout is
let me digress for just a moment to discuss some viruses that aren't...
"Good Times Virus" - is a HOAX
has circulated for several years. It's supposed to be a mail bomb, but such
things simply do not exist. YOU
CAN NOT GET A VIRUS SIMPLY BY OPENING YOUR E-MAIL.
virus can only affect your system if you install and run a piece of software.
"Netscape Mail Bomb" is not a real threat. A now-fixed bug in Navigator V3
could result in your system locking up when a certain bit of HTML code was
encountered. Requests for more information about this will be cheerfully ignored.
- is not a hoax, but it has become bigger than life. PKZIP300 is supposedly
a rogue "Version 3" of the popular PKZIP software that is "circulating widely"
on the Internet. Claims that this trojan horse program can cause damage SIMPLY
BY DOWNLOADING IT are ridiculous, and of my knowledge it is not publicly available
ANYWHERE on the Internet orelsewhere. See the PKWARE site at http://www.pkware.com
for more info.
Can I Avoid Computer Viruses?
you can't avoid viruses by shunning shareware, freeware or games. There are
cases where even commercial "shrink wrapped" software was accidentally packaged
with a virus.
best course of action is to be cautious of ANY newly acquired software and
to use "anti-virus" software that will automatically alert you to any potential
also highly recommend that you read the VIRUS-L
get expert answers to questions like these and others:
FAQ can also be obtained by sending e-mail to LISTSERV@LEHIGH.EDU
the command "INFO VIRUS-L" in the message body.
are the known viruses, major symptoms and possible cures?
can I get free or shareware antivirus programs?
can I get more information on viruses, etc?
steps should be taken in diagnosing and identifying viruses?
is the best way to remove a virus?
VIRUS-L mailing list (also available on Usenet as comp.virus)
is a forum for sharing information and ideas about computer viruses. Discussions
include virus sightings, virus prevention and Q & A. To subscribe, send e-mail
the command "SUBSCRIBE VIRUS-L Your Name" in the message body.
Writes Malicious Computer Viruses?
that kid in high school - the one you picked on because his pant cuffs didn't
come down quite far enough to meet his cheap sneakers? Your merciless taunting
drove him into the computer lab, where he sought revenge on the entire human
race. This is all YOUR fault. :-)
Other Cool Virus-Related Stuff
hope you'll read the VIRUS-L FAQ and get yourself educated on how to avoid
computer viruses. When you're done there, here's further reading: This
page has been HTML-ized with kind permission from the original authors of the
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TOURBUS - (c) Copyright 1996, Patrick Crispen and Bob Rankin
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