Why do people get a computer virus?

Computers get viruses the same way that humans do: transmission from one to another. For computers that doesn't mean shaking hands, kissing or standing together on public transport, it means things like email attachments, fraudulent links, downloads, removable media, or any sort of shared resource. Viruses can even hide in text files like this one.

Like human viruses, they can spread and replicate themselves and cause damage to their carrier. They normally infect your computer and run without your knowledge, and are discovered when they show themselves by way of some sort of computer malfunction. They are created with malicious intent, to do things like steal your information, but some are simply created to damage your computer. If you have one, you probably got it by clicking on a link, perhaps in an internet pop-up ad or a spam email attachment, or through downloading an infected file. Some advice: never open emails from Nigeria offering you 50,000 USD deposited in your bank account immediately.


They can be a pain to get rid of, especially those that are designed to resist typical anti-virus software. They can sometimes be detected by running an online virus scan, but ironically, online virus scans can contain viruses themselves. If you want to avoid getting a virus, disconnect your computer from the internet, unplug it from the wall and any other device, and keep it away from other computers. Or perhaps just get some good anti-virus software and be cautious opening suspicious email attachments weird looking links. The thing is that because computers are so high-tech and complicated there are times when you need a SuperGeek to get you though.

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