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The Worms of the Net
|by Mayur Kamat|
So you are ready, uh? To know the various disease causing germs transmitting via the Internet. Well, the topic is so vast, that I will split in into small parts, each dealing with their different aspects. This time, I will just introduce you to the topic. Then, we shall see their origin and spread. Further, information regarding the most important (in other words, dangerous) viruses and their elimination will be given. Later, we will see various anti-virus packages and how to use them.
The first encounter with a computer virus is a mixture of thrill, suspense, comedy and later tragedy. It is comical at first to see your programs act funny and show comical messages. This is accompanied by an element of suspense when you realize that your computer has been infected, but you don't know what it will do, or what it can do. When important data is lost and you have to re-format your hard disk, the story becomes tragic. But when your anti-virus package (you have one, don't you?) detects the culprit and deletes it, you are filled with pride and satisfaction. The same old story of a Hollywood blockbuster.
Computers generally pick up viruses from infected files over a floppy (who uses these nowadays?), a network or the mother of all networks, the Internet. Research shows that the main culprits for the spread of these unwanted guests is the Internet. Infected files are attached to anonymous messages and sent to thousands of people who unknowingly download and execute the file attachment, creating a havoc on their machines as well as the network the are on.
Many people configure their mail clients to automatically forward the mails they receive, assuring that the infected file is generously distributed to other people too.
Detection and removal of computer viruses is a thriving industry today. A philosopher has rightly said, someone's troubles are a boon to others. Major players in the field of Virus detection and elimination are Symantec (Norton Antivirus), Network Associates (Mcaffee Viruscan), Datafellows (F-Secure) and Trend Micro (PC-cillin). These are international players. Besides, regional antivirus software are also available, which are modified to suit local needs.
In the next part of this series, we will look into the types of viruses. A brief intro about the evolution of the computer virus and the reason for its vast popularity (or shall I say notoriety).
So see you next time, Until then, Happy Surfing.
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