My Report #1:
The Psychology of Computer Viruses
 
 Click Here for Table of Contents
 
 
 
 
 
 
Table of Contents
 
Instructions for This Report
 
Introduction
 
What is a computer virus?
Who Creates Them? Why?
How do they spread?
What are some famous viruses in the history of computer viruses?
Describe some that you find astonishing
Significance of Computer Viruses
How do they work?
What types are there?
What are virus myths?
 How do people react to viruses
Comparison of My Report
 
General Security Information
 
Conclusion
 
Epilogue
 
Introduction
 
In respect to Mr. Sasabe's problem, I really think that a computer that belongs to any kind of university is waiting to be "fresh meat" for hungry people to set viruses into.  No matter how good you think your virus protection program is or how secure you think the firewall is or how strong of an encryption a system has, nothing can stop a person from breaking in and setting off a virus to screw it up.  The University of Hawaii at Manoa is the perfect site to be hacking into.   

In this point of view, any student who is attending the university would at least try some attempt to get into the system for personal reasons.  Whether it be for changing grades, getting exams, or simply pulling pranks on other students or faculty.  Whatever the reason may be, the point is that the University of Hawaii at Manoa is a prime target for anything computer problem to happen.  

What happened to Mr. Sasabe was an unfortunate loss.  What every computer user should know is the basics of computers and maybe a little more.  A computer that is on any kind of sharing such as a LAN (Local Area Network) should know that it is wide open for anything to happen let alone a computer that has multiple users one after the other.  I think the one most common way for viruses to spread is through a number of uses who share the same computer with different diskettes and the uses of those diskettes in other machines not knowing that it may pick up one of the many dangerous and fatal viruses out there.  

Like my fellow classmate Brandon Suetsugu, I too have many experiences with computer viruses.  I am a computer consultant in my own corporation and one of my major duties is to maintain networks for clients.  Many of the networks have access to the world wide web as well as their very own intranet and extranet which in turn means that security is a very important issue.  In the end user side there are hundreds of people at one time at various computer stations and the chances of these stations to be exposed to viruses are great.  On average, I think that there was about 20-30 workstations that needed to be done due to virus infections that ate entire hard drives, manipulate word processing programs.  This goes to show that viruses are everywhere.  You can't run, you can't hide, and especially with the growing world of the world wide web, you won't be able to resist the internet.  

I am not at all worried about it simply because I don't keep any kind of data on my hard drive.  I back up all of my data on a backup hard drive and also on a zip drive.  I know that even with this I am not safe.  I always keep copies of my programs on hand, all of my updates for those programs, and try to always update and get the newest version of McAfee's Virus Scan.  If this doesn't work for me, then at least I know that my knowledge about computers enables me to rebuild my computer if needed. 

My computer currently has a computer virus checker right now.  I try to use the latest version of McAfee's Virus Scan engine.  I always read about viruses in those personal computer magazines and on the internet and also from inside sources at my office.  Most of the people that I have worked with and have asked about their most recent virus attack was a woman who said that it screwed up her memory and her hard drive.  I physically had to replace a hard drive, because the user was convinced that no matter how much times I was to try and redo the entire machine from scratch, she would have a virus attack, mainly a macro virus.  She was fed up with dealing with these macro viruses and said for me to replace her entire system.  So I did.  I don't see how that was any help, but as they say  in the business world, the customer is always right.

 
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What is a Computer Virus?
 
The term computer virus is a computer program that attaches itself to files then destroying specific programs and applications by multiplying from its original state.  This term was first used by Fred Cohen in 1984.   

On a technical note, a computer virus is one kind of threat to the security and integrity of computer systems.  Like other threats, a computer virus can cause the loss or alteration of programs or data, and can compromise their confidentiality. 
Unlike many other threats, a computer virus can spread from program to program, and from system to system, without direct human intervention. 

The essential component of a virus is a set of instructions which, when executed, spreads itself to other, previously unaffected, programs or files.  A typical computer virus performs two functions.  First, it copies itself 
into previously-uninfected programs or files.  Second, (perhaps after a specific number of executions, or on a specific date) it executes whatever other instructions the virus author included in it.  Depending on the motives 
of the virus author, these instructions can do anything at all, including displaying a message, erasing files or subtly altering stored data.  In some cases, a virus may contain no intentionally harmful or disruptive 
instructions at all. Instead, it may cause damage by replicating itself and taking up scarce resources, such as disk space, CPU time, or network connections. 

There are several problems similar to computer viruses. They too have colorful names:  worms, bacteria, rabbits, and so on.  Definitions of them are given in the glossary.  Each shares the property of replicating itself 
within the computing system.  This is the property on which we will focus, using viruses as an example.  There are also a variety of security issues other than viruses.  Here, we will deal only with viruses and related problems, since new measures are required to deal with them effectively. 

IBM Corporation
HOW VIRUSES INFECT COMPUTING SYSTEMS 

 There are many ways in which a system can become infected with a virus.  Any 
 time a program is run which can alter one or more other programs, there is 
 the possibility of viral infection.  Any time a user executes a program which 
 is written by anyone else, compiled by a compiler, or linked with run time 
 libraries, all the resources to which that program has access are in the 
 hands of every person who contributed to that program, that compiler, or 
 those libraries.  The IBM Corporation has suggestion a few of them. 

 The initial introduction of an infected program can occur through a large 
 variety of channels, including: 

 o   Software introduced into or used on the system by an outsider who had 
     access to the system, 

 o   Software used at home by an employee whose home computer system is, 
     unknown to the employee, itself infected, 

 o   Software purchased from a commercial software company whose production 
     facilities are infected, 

 o   Software that turns out to be infected that has been down-loaded from 
     public bulletin boards for business use, or by employees, 

 o   Software intentionally infected by a malicious or disgruntled employee, 

 o   *Any* other time that a piece of software (including programs, operating 
     systems, and so on) is created within the organization, or brought in 
     from *any* outside source. 

The Following are the 14 best ways from avoiding computer infection 

1. Don't use illegal software! If the software has been obtained illegally, how can you assume that it doesn't contain a virus.  

2. Never boot your computer system from a diskette other than the original DOS diskette. Only one write-protected boot disk should be assigned to a floppy-based system. The diskette should be clearly marked, write-protected and used only for booting up the designated computer. If you accidentally try to boot from a non-system disk, turn the computer off and boot 
with the write-protected system disk.  

3. If your system uses a fixed disk, never boot from a diskette. In some situations, write protection software for the hard disk should be employed.  

4. Always write-protect your systems and program disks. Write-protect tabs are easy to use and very effective. You should write only on data disks.  

5. Only copy files from the original distribution disks.  

6. Always keep at least one set of back-up copies of all original disks. (This won't prevent a virus infection, but it will help in the recovery process if an infection occurs.) 

7. Do not loan out program disks. They may be infected when they are returned. If you must loan a disk, always check it for viruses or format it before using the disk on your computer system. 

8. Never use a computer that has already been turned on by another user. Always use a cold boot to restart the computer. Do not assume that a warm boot will remove a virus.  

9. Make all the .COM and .EXE system and program files read only by using the command ATTRIB+R. Some viruses can now circumvent this method.  

10. Always keep a lookout for strange occurrences: 
a. When you do a directory listing, look at the volume label. 
b. Observe whether your computer system is slowing down. 
c. Watch for files that disappear. 
d. Notice when there are attempts to access the disks when there should not be any read or write activity. 
e. Watch whether the loading of programs takes longer. 
f. Keep a lookout for decreases in the main memory or reduction of disk space. 
g. Watch for unusually large sizes on program files. 
h. Watch for recent creation dates on old program files. 
i. Watch for unusual displays on the computer screen. 

11. Use caution when using public domain and shareware software or any new software. There have been instances where commercial software has been sold with a virus. 

12. If you are downloading software from a bulletin board or other computer network including the Internet, always download to a diskette. You should then scan the diskette for possible virus infections. (You may want to write-protect your hard disk during this operation.) 

13. In a lab environment, do not allow users to run their own programs or boot the computer system with their own disks. Users should only have data disks that are not bootable. All program disks and hard disks in a lab must be checked frequently for viruses. If users are allowed to use their own program disks, they must be scanned before they are used in the computer lab. 

14. Most important of all is to teach computer users about computer viruses so that they can recognize them. Computer users need to be able to identify viruses so that they will be able to prevent their spread.

 
 
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Who Creates them? Why?
 
Virus creation is a thing of the teen ages.  What experts say, a Mike Ellison says that virus writers are "a teenage thing."  The oldest virus creater was found to be 24.  Mike Ellison was 14 when he started fooling with viruses.  He started teaching himself the computer language of C and assembly language says PC World.  His computer was infected with a virus and with his ability to program, he began to take apart and maybe build them as well.  Many of these virus writers, as they are called, are searched for around the world and get hired by large software companies to do some good for the computer industry.  Many of these intellegent individuals are of "very bright people who just want to do something unique and new says Ellison.  

Some other ways that these vicious viruses spread are simply programmers who have a lot of time on their hands.  Viruses can be written by anyone, anywhere in the world, who has enough programming skill. A few have been developed by researchers for demonstration purposes, and some others are jokes, written by pranksters. Other viruses are written by people learning programming, who think writing a virus is accomplishing something. In many cases, these viruses get passed around, and later are altered by other people.  The assumption is that these programmers don't have the skills to put their skills to work so they want to see their work take action.  The fascination in a virus programmer's mind is to see how devestating their work can be.  Destruction is in a man's human nature and simply is an extension of their masculinity.

 
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How do they work?
 
Many viruses out there have different ways of infecting computer systems and the results also differ from one another.  The virus has to be initiated into a computer first.  It feeds off the entire operating system and the virus is to be hidden until it is executed by some distinct function or command.  By this, it will find all other files that are prone for infection.  When the virus infects the files, it avoids being detected by moderately infecting files.  Most viruses stay undectected, because it's not working 100% of the time.  It infects and then stops and then starts to infect again.  Virus infection is executed when a program that it is attached to it is executed.  Each time this host program is opened, the virus is also operating on that application.  The virus mutates and finds another application to infect.  It copies itself to another pron application and this is why there is such a wide spread of viruses known to man and machine. 

While the risk is relatively small, it is growing daily. Viruses circulate from one computer to another, often via diskettes. If you're lucky, you'll never encounter a virus, but one could be concealed in the next file you download, or on the next diskette you receive. Diskettes borrowed from friends, school, or work are common sources, even shrink-wrapped diskettes purchased at stores, or through mail-order. Downloaded programs can be infected, and viruses can travel among networked PCs.

 
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How do they Spread?
 
One of the very basic ways for computers to get a virus is the sharing of floppy diskettes.  In the recent years of computer advancement, one of the most popular ways of getting a computer virus onto a computer is through the world wide web and email.  Many of the users our there that use email frequently will experience some kind of change in the use of their personal computer.  One user that I was conducting my research with had said he may have received a trojan horse virus over the internet using email.  His ISP provider has diagnosed him of having the trojan horse virus due to the symptoms of how his computer was acting.  He installed a computer virus software and wasn't too successful.  The virus software had indicated that there were no viruses found.  

Many users will experience these types of hassle through the extensive use of computers.  There was this one incident with another uses that I was in contact with through the subscription of newgroups where he was working on a paper for a psychology class that required a paper done in APA format.  He used a template containing a macro utility.  Aparently this macro had some kind of virus attached to it.  The result was pretty serious.  With all of the other word processing applications that was loaded in his computer, he was unable to use them, because the macro virus spread causing every word processing program to only use the APA fomat.  The problem didn't stop.  He tried to print out his APA formated document and it would only print out garbage.  It would print some parts of the document up to a half a page then it would continue to spit out garbage.  This type of macro viruses are commonly found in word processing programs such as Microsoft Word and Word Perfect.   

Another famous  way for computers to be affected by viruses are through the memory of the system.  Usually, computer viruses, if installed will detect boot sector viruses.  One such virus would be named the "Brain" virus.  Those who experience the "Brain" virus will have problems such as not being able to get rid of it, because formating your hard drive simply won't do the trick.  Boot sector viruses infect the master boot record or the "mbr."  What some may attempt to do is "fdisk" the "mbr" and start fresh.  With this, you risk of losing data and all of your applications if not backed up or if you don't have a copy if it laying around somewhere. 

Email has been the trend of sending messages over the world wide web.  It's fast, easy, and very conveinient for many computer users all over the world.  Everyone is taking advange of it and yet it's the easiest way to get viruses.  For example, the "Good Time" virus.  Users will send an email message over the internet with the word "Good Times" in the subject field.  The function of this virus is to supposedly place the computer's CPU in a nth-complexity infinite binary loop which can severely damage the processor.  The easiest way to avoid this virus is to not use a virus software, but to simply not read the file.

 
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What type are there?
 
There are different types of computer viruses out there.  I found four categories that fall under: Standard, Polymorpihic, Stealth, and Encrypted.  Standard viruses are easy to detect, because they are found by using a string of characters.  Polymorphic viurses change when infecting computer to computer.  Polymorphic Viruses are an attempt to evade virus scanning programs. Each time the virus infects a file, it changes a portion of its code. Fortunately, these viruses are not truly unique - they still have an element of the original which newer scanners are able to detect. However, this sort of virus is another reason why more than one method of viral detection should 
be utilized - good integrity checkers would find viruses of this type when scanners cannot.Stealth viruses hide themselves from being detected.  Like the Stealth Bomber flying through the skies through enemy territory, the Stealth Boot Virus hide itself from many of the virus detection engine out there.  Stealth Viruses attempt to take over portions of your system to hide their existence. The virus takes over system functions that are used in reading files or system sectors. When looking at your system, you then see what the virus wants you to see - a clean, virus free system.  

         Antiviral products should be used when dealing with stealth viruses (and other viruses too!). Stealth viruses shuffle bits of your system around as well as encrypt bits. If DOS commands are bluntly wielded to fix the virus, you may simply make matters worse. Another thing to keep in mind with stealth viruses is that to improve your chances of finding stealth viruses, cold boot from a clean, write protected floppy disk and then run your antiviral package.Encrypted viruses  hide themselves throught code encryption. 

 
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What are some famous viruses in the history of computer viruses?
 
 
In actuality, there are a numerous viruses that are famous out there.  Most of it depends of what type of application the user has and occupies the most.  Take the use of email for example.  One of the most famous email viruses known to me is the Good Times Virus.  It is stated by IBM that it always travels to new computers the same way in a text email message with the subject line reading "Good Time."  The act of leading the file into the ail server's ASCII buffer causes the "Good Time's mainline program to initialize and excute.  The program is highly intelligent.  It will send copies of itself to everyone whose email address is contained in a receive-mail file or a sent-mail file, if it can find one.  It will then proceed to trash the computer it is running on. 

Pakistani Brain virus - a boot sector virus that transfers the current boot sector to an unused portion of the disk and marks that portion of the disk as bad sectors. The virus then copies the remainder of the virus to an unused portion of the disk and marks that portion as bad sectors also.  The Brain virus then periodically marks other portions of the disk as bad sectors making files and eventually the disk unusable. Early versions displayed a volume label (c) Brain. All versions have the name of the program, the authors and often their address in the boot sector of the infected disk. This virus was the first virus known to spread worldwide and has spawned numerous strains of similar viruses including the Ashar or Ashar-Shoe virus, which is very 
widespread in Malaysia. 

Stoned-Marijuana virus - is also a boot sector virus. It infects the boot sector of floppy disks and the File Allocation Table (FAT) of hard disk systems. On most systems it will only periodically display a message "Your PC is Stoned. Legalise Marijuana." However on hard disk systems with more than one partition and on floppy disks that have been formatted high 
density, it will damage the file allocation table. This makes access to the files nearly impossible. The original strain of this virus was written in New Zealand.  

Jerusalem virus - also known as the Israeli and Friday 13th virus and includes several strains including the Jerusalem-B virus.  The Jerusalem virus infects both .COM and .EXE files. This virus will survive a warm boot. After the virus is resident for 1/2 hour, it slows the system down by a factor of ten. On Friday the 13th, it will delete all infected files. Besides the damage it 
inflicts, the Jerusalem-B virus also periodically displays a "black window" in the middle of the screen. 

Cascade virus - also known as the Falling Letters or 1701 virus. It originally appeared as a Trojan Horse disguised as a program to turn off the Num-Lock light. Instead it caused all the characters on the screen to fall into a pile at the bottom of the screen. It now occurs as a memory resident .COM virus. The Cascade virus uses an encryption algorithm to avoid detection. It originally activated on any machine with a color monitor in September-December in the years 1980 and 1988. 

Michelangelo - on March 6th, if the infected computer is a '286 or '386 computer, the virus will write garbage on all tracks of all cylinders.  

Black Monday - on Mondays, a counter counts down from 240 each time a file is infected. When zero is reached, a low level format of the hard disk is performed. Written by a Malaysian student.

 
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What are virus myths?
 
 

Myths are destructive codes that spread and infect much like viruses though without the recognition like original viruses would have.  They are commonly called virus hoaxes.  The lack of knowledge about viruses make us come up with assumptions and the rumors that we hear around by secondary communication tend to reinforce these myths.  Progidy suggests that merely being connected over a telephone line canNOT transfer viruses, so you can't infect your computer simply by being on the Internet. However, it is worth mentioning the potential risk involved, when viewing some Web pages, and from some downloaded files.  Viewing Web pages that use ActiveX objects is NOT regarded as being safe from viruses. This is because ActiveX objects are executable files, first downloaded by Microsoft's Web browser, then run by your PC, and thus CAN be used to spread viruses, at least by dropping them on the hard disk. The "security" of ActiveX consists only of a digital certificate of authenticity, indicating who created the object. Once an object is executed, it can do anything any other program can do, and the certificate of authenticity does not guarantee no virus is present.  On the other hand, viewing Web pages that use Java applets IS regarded as being safe from viruses. Although the Web browser does download Java applets, they are run in a restricted environment, and not allowed access to the PC's hard disk, thus providing a high level of safety.  As for files that you download, a virus can't spread to a PC during the downloading process. This also applies to Java applications (which are NOT built into Web pages, nor downloaded by Web browsers). However, since a downloaded file could be infected, be sure to scan for viruses after downloading files, before using them. 

The bottom line: To be on the safe side, don't use a Web browser to run programs, and consider using the security option in your browser to disable ActiveX support. Finally, keep a backup of your files; that's always a good thing to do.  What about email viruses?  You don't need to worry about spreading a computer virus to your PC, just from reading your email. That's because simply reading an ASCII (text-only) message cannot spread a virus to your computer. Although some hoaxes claim otherwise, viruses don't spread from text messages, because viruses can not infect plain text. In order to spread, the virus itself must be executed, and reading an email does not do that.  However, files attached to the email message could contain executable (machine code), and could be infected. While  there's ordinarily a small risk, all such files should be scanned before being used or opened. In addition, if there's an  MS-Word (6.0+) document attached, you also need to be careful. Macro viruses can spread from files in applications  that use macros capable of being infected, and that includes Microsoft Word, version 6.0 and higher.  If your email program (such as Lotus ccMAIL) is configured to run MS-Word automatically to read (open) attached   MS-Word document, you could infect MS-Word with a macro virus. The risk is smaller, but also applies to MS-Excel spreadsheets. If you have such a feature enabled, disable it, so that you can check the file first. 

Finally, if there's any doubt (especially if the file was sent by a stranger), deleting unsolicited files would be the safest thing to do. Remember the old saying: curiosity killed the cat? Don't expose your data to unnecessary risk from opening a file an unknown person has sent you. 

Recent Virus Hoaxes 
PKZ300, Irina, Good Times, Deeyenda, Ghost, PENPAL GREETINGS!, Make Money Fast, NaughtyRobot, and AOL4FREE are all Internet 'virus' hoax warning messages being circulated by email, and new ones are constantly being dreamed up. These hoax messages typically warn of disaster if you even read a suspect email message, and urge that you forward them to every one you know. To reduce the spread of such hoaxes, and to avoid annoying other people, do not spread such warnings unless you have verified their accuracy.

 
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Describe some that you find astonishing.
 
 
According to Chuck Taylor at the Seattle Times, the follwoing are a few to consider watching for.  Some of them have very interesting names with very interesting meainings and functions.  I also find them very funny, interesting, but yet very serious.  Computer viruses eek their way in and out of computer systems withing nano seconds.  One particular way they get executed are the very attractive names that programmers give them. 

BOBBIT VIRUS 
Removes a vital part of your hard disk then re-attaches it. (But that part will never work again.) 

OPRAH WINFREY VIRUS 
Your 200MB hard drive suddenly shrinks to 80MB, and then slowly expands back to 200MB. 

AT&T VIRUS 
Every three minutes it tells you what great service you are getting. 

MCI VIRUS  
Every three minutes it reminds you that you're paying too much for the AT&T virus. 

PAUL REVERE VIRUS  
This revolutionary virus does not horse around. It warns you of impending hard disk attack -- once if by LAN, twice if by C/: 

POLITICALLY CORRECT VIRUS 
Never calls itself a "virus," but instead refers to itself as an "electronic microorganism." 

RIGHT TO LIFE VIRUS  
Won't allow you to delete a file, regardless of how old it is. If you attempt to erase a file, it requires you to first see a counselor 
about possible alternatives. 

ROSS PEROT VIRUS 
Activates every component in your system, just before the whole damn thing quits. 

MARIO CUOMO VIRUS 
It would be a great virus, but it refuses to run. 

TED TURNER VIRUS 
Colorizes your monochrome monitor. 

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER VIRUS 
Terminates and stays resident. It'll be back. 

DAN QUAYLE VIRUS #1 
Prevents your system from spawning any child process without joining into a binary network. 

DAN QUAYLE VIRUS #2 
Their is sumthing rong wit your komputer, ewe jsut cant figyour out watt! 

GOVERNMENT ECONOMIST VIRUS  
Nothing works, but all your diagnostic software says everything is fine. 

NEW WORLD ORDER VIRUS 
Probably harmless, but it makes a lot of people really mad just thinking about it. 

FEDERAL BUREAUCRAT VIRUS 
Divides your hard disk into hundreds of little units, each of which does practically nothing, but all of which claim to be the most 
important part of your computer. 

GALLUP VIRUS  
Sixty percent of the PCs infected will lose 38 percent of their data 14 percent of the time (plus or minus a 3.5 percent margin 
or error). 

TEXAS VIRUS  
Makes sure that it's bigger than any other file. 

ADAM AND EVE VIRUS  
Takes a couple of bytes out of your Apple computer. 

CONGRESSIONAL VIRUS #1  
The computer locks up, screen splits erratically with a message appearing on each half blaming the other side for the problem. 

CONGRESSIONAL VIRUS #2  
Runs every program on the hard drive simultaneously but doesn't allow the user to accomplish anything. 

AIRLINE VIRUS  
You're in Dallas, but your data is in Singapore. 

FREUDIAN VIRUS  
Your computer becomes obsessed with marrying its own motherboard. 

PBS VIRUS  
Your computer stops every few minutes to ask for money. 

ELVIS VIRUS  
Your computer gets fat, slow and lazy, then self-destructs -- only to resurface at shopping malls and service stations across 
rural America. 

OLLIE NORTH VIRUS  
Causes your printer to become a paper shredder. 

SEARS VIRUS  
Your data won't appear unless you buy new cables, power supply and a set of shocks. 

JIMMY HOFFA VIRUS  
Your programs can never be found again. 

KEVORKIAN VIRUS  
Helps your computer shut down as an act of mercy. 

IMELDA MARCOS VIRUS  
Sings you a song (slightly off key) on boot-up, then subtracts money from your Quicken account and spends it all on expensive 
shoes it purchases through Prodigy. 

STAR TREK VIRUS  
Invades your system in places where no virus has gone before.  

HEALTH CARE VIRUS  
Tests your system for a day, finds nothing wrong and sends you a bill for $4,500. 

GEORGE BUSH VIRUS  
It starts by boldly stating, "Read my docs ... no new files!" on the screen. It proceeds to fill up all the free space on your hard 
drive with new files, then blames it on the Congressional Virus. 

NEW YORK JETS VIRUS  
Makes your 486/50 machine perform like a 286/AT. 

LAPD VIRUS  
It claims it feels threatened by the other files on your PC and erases them in "self-defense." 

CHICAGO CUBS VIRUS  
Your PC makes frequent mistakes and comes in last in the reviews, but you still love it. 

ORAL ROBERTS VIRUS  
Claims that if you don't send it a million dollars, its programmer will take it back. 

O.J. VIRUS 
It claims that it did not, could not and would not delete two of your files and vows to find the virus that did it.

 
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how do people react to viruses
 
Many people who experience computer viruses will usually panic.  Like any kind of virus if infected, peole will see someone with the expertise who will be able to cure them.  What users should do is not to attempt to remove the virus unless your computer virus software is capable of doing it instantaneously.  Many users will try to detect the file and simply delete it.  What they don't know is that certain files can't and should be deleted unless they have some kind of back up file for it.  This is why users should back up files regularly, meaning every  week or even every day.  Back up files are come very useful when a virus infects a computer, because it's the only way to recover any destryed or infected files.   

In one interview with a computer user, I have asked the question of how does he act when he discovers a virus problem.  He stated that he has to always uninstall the infected program and reinstall the program.  He said there was one incident where his computer discovered a virus and uninstalled the proram, but the virus moved and attached itself to another program forcing him to perform the fdisk option and reconfigure his entire computer. 

Here are some suggestions from PC World of avoiding to be infected with viruses: 
     -Don't download and run.   
          Scan files you copy from the Net before executing them. 
     -Sharing means caring.   
          Assign passwords to users to potect your network. 
     -Is nothing sacred?   
          Even commercial CD-ROMs and floppies should be scanned. 
     -Know your friends. 
          Scan e-mail attachments. 
     -Cover you A:. 
          Set the write-protect tab on floppies; don't leave them in the drive. 

What most computer advocates would do is to try and clean up the virus.  Some may be too late, because they don't think that they won't be infected in the future so they don't get any virus protection at all.  When a virus does hit, computer uses will find a virus software and try to eliminate the problem.  Then if one virus software don't work, they'll find one that may work.  Those who really get serious will try every program out there.  Since we know that computer aren't perfect, the users aren't also since man was the creater of them. 

 
Significance of Computer Viruses
 
Viruses have a significance of recurring in certain known patterns.  What virus writers do is whenever a software company finds a way to detect a virus, these viru writer will take a turn around and find a detour around these pattern detections.  Take the software company that created the virus software PCcillin 95.  To prevent yoursef from being infected with computer viruses, it is suggested that you update your virus pattern files.  When viruses are found, their virus definitions are added to the virus pattern files says an Earnpin Lee.
 
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Comparison of My Report
 
There weren't a whole of students in the class that did their first report on computer viruses.  I was unable to compare my report with anyone else in the class so what I tried to compare it with was the layout of the report and the many various techniques that the students approached in publishing it on the world wide web. 

I tried to keep most of my reports and postings is conjunction with one another using a similar type text layout format and images.  When I first started creating web pages and designs, I was unaware of the different functions and capabilities of web page editors.  Now that I know more now than I did then, I think that my most favorite way of publishing my work is by using different images as separators and with the sub-heading to follow.  As far as the content is concern, I know for a fact that majority of the class has done research on the web and as on white paper documentation for addition information.   

Some of the students differ in the amount of time that are spend on creating these reports.  Some take almost three quarters of their day just to come up with a first draft.  Then another three quarters to finish up a final draft.  In attempt to complete this report, I have spent over a week.  Ranging from internet research, bookstore research, and image creation as well as internet conversations with other users.  I think the research part of this report was the most interesting and fun part to do.

 
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My Experience with Computer Viruses
 
A quote from PCWorld Magazine March Issue: 
     "This ear, macro viruses are running rampant.  Which antivirus program is your best defense?" 
 
DECREASING THE RISK OF VIRAL INFECTION  

 Viruses can spread from one user to another on a single system, and from one 
 system to another.  A virus can enter a company either by being written 
 within the company, or by being brought in from the outside.  Although a 
 virus cannot be written accidentally, a virus may be brought in from the 
 outside either intentionally or unintentionally.  Viruses can enter a company 
 because a program is brought in from outside which is infected, even though 
 the person who brings it in does not know it. 

 Because sharing of programs between people is so commonplace, it is difficult 
 to prevent an initial infection from "outside." An employee may take a 
 program home to use it for business purposes on his or her home computer, 
 where it becomes infected.  When the program is returned to the workplace, 
 the infection can spread to the workplace. Similarly, an outside person can 
 bring a set of programs into a company in order to perform work desired by 
 the company.  If these programs are infected, and they are executed on the 
 company's systems, these systems may also become infected. 

 There are two major ways to prevent infection in the first place, and to 
 limit the spread of an existing infection: isolating systems, and limiting 
 their function. 

 
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General Security information
 
 
ciac.llnl.gov/ciac  
www.mcafee.com/support/techdocs/vinfo/default.asp  
IBM's virus warning site  
Computer Virus Myths  
Symantec's Anti-Virus Research Centre  
www2.offutt.af.mil/wipo/virushoax.html  
csrc.ncsl.nist.gov/virus/  
AntiVirus Resources 
AVP Virus Encyclopaedia 
Computer Virus Research Lab 
Computer Viruses and Security 
Computer Virus Information and Resources Page 
Datafellows (F-Prot) Virus Database Page 
General anti-virus/security resource 
IBM Antivirus Online Page 
Symantec Virus Database Page
 

Conclusion
 
Viruses have be around quite some time now and I can assure you that it will be around just about forever.  Over a decade now, there are people who are constantly coming up with new ways of making life in the computer world very difficult.  This report offers simple knowledge of the activity that goes on this day and age.  The trend of technology is changing so rapidly that something such as viruses will also follow the trend.  The research that is done today, per se, won't be known among many of the computer users out there.  Therefore, what we all should realize is the activity that goes on and how we can base the information provided to help prevent the spread of virus activity in the future.
 
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Epilogue
 
Up to this point in time, there are a few suggestions that I would offer.  After performing research on the different virus detection software out there, there are a few that I would recommend. 

     -Norton AntiVirus 4.0 
     -McAfee Virus Scan 3.0 
     -IBM AntiVirus 3.0.1 

In the most recent review of computer virus software protection, Norton's AntiVirus version 4.0 has been the best buy among computer critics.  Norton's version 4.0 performs an pre-installation scan and gives you an option of creating an emergency boot disk.  One of the features that I find to be my most favorite is the Scan Scheduler.  Like many users out there in the computer world, I leave on my computer 7-24.  Scan Scheduler performs a scan whenenver I configure to.  Also when it is time to update your virus software version 4.0 automatically udates it.  For example, if you have your internet configured automatcailly to connect to the world wide web, it will automatically search for updates for you (it reminds you when to update the data files).  Another feature that I fountd really interesting is version 4.0 ability to lead you step by step through the removal of a virus when detected.   
 
What I future generations may want to be cautious about is the vastly changing ways of how viruses are created, spread, and infect.  With the tremendous changing of the computer industry, viruses with also change accordingly.  The viruses will change and so will the search engines.  What you may want to do is to check the monthly udates of the latest data files.  Many software companies that develop these virus detection programs will come out with updated files that detect the patterns of the spread of viruses.  It's also good to update the program itself. 
 

 
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