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Top Myths About Computer Viruses

Updated on June 24, 2011

I Think I Have a Virus

We will look at the top six myths about computer viruses.  Hopefully after reading this you will have a better understanding of viruses and be better prepared to protect yourself and your computer from computer viruses.

Number One--You will know when your computer is infected.

Most viruses can only accomplish their goal if they remain undetected on your computer.  Virus creators go to great lengths to ensure that the virus they have written will be hard to detect.  In many instances, the longer the virus can stay on your computer undetected, the more money the virus creator can make.

Number Two--If you have antivirus software installed on your computer you don’t have to worry about viruses.

Having antivirus software installed on your computer is a great first step in preventing virus infection on your computer.  If you do not have the antivirus software updated regularly your antivirus software will not be able to detect the newest viruses.   It is also important to keep your operating system updated with the latest security patches.

Number Three--Computer viruses are only transmitted through email attachments.

Email attachments are a very common way for viruses to be transmitted.  Other ways for viruses to be transmitted include web pages and instant messenger programs.

Number Four—Viruses can only spread to email addresses in your address book.

There are many viruses that do spread by utilizing your address book. More sophisticated viruses can look for addresses in documents and spreadsheets on your computer as well.

Number Five—Only .exe files can be infected with a virus.

Other file types include .arj, .bat, .com, .cpl, .eml, .pif, .rar, .reg, .scr, .vbs, and .zip. This is not an inclusive list by any means, just a list of the most common file types. There are over 50 file types that can spread viruses, and the list is growing.

Number Six—Only Windows based computers are susceptible to viruses.

In the early days of Windows, Microsoft was very lax about security and they have paid a very high price for it.  Since Windows XP SP2, Microsoft has been very serious about security.  Microsoft is also a very big target.  Most viruses are written for Windows, but there are some viruses out there written specifically for Mac OS X, UNIX, and Linux.  Criminals that are trying to steal your bank account information don’t care what OS you are running.  Since Microsoft has gotten serious about security and is doing a much better job at securing their OS, criminals are finding it easier to go after other platforms that have not been targets in the past.

Conclusion

Whatever OS you are running, make sure you have antivirus software installed and make sure your computer is updated with the latest security patches. 

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    • Shawn Scarborough profile imageAUTHOR

      Shawn Scarborough 

      5 years ago from The Lone Star State

      @Storytellersrus and @Man from Modesto--thanks for your comments.

    • Man from Modesto profile image

      Man from Modesto 

      6 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

      After I started reading... I started a scan to see what I've acquired in the last 8 days since my last scan. 70% done, 2 tracking cookies already.

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 

      6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Well I have that haha! I just don't trust it with all the horror stories!

    • Shawn Scarborough profile imageAUTHOR

      Shawn Scarborough 

      6 years ago from The Lone Star State

      Storytellersrus, the best way to protect your computer from a virus is to run a good antivirus program.

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 

      6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      SS, thanks for the information. I will not sleep, tonight, haha. Sometimes I think I should have a computer without any Internet access, where I write my novels. Then I could copy them on disc and go from there. So my question is, would this keep me from getting viruses or because every computer is wired for Internet, would I still be vulnerable? I know this is probably a dumb question, but I am pretty computer illiterate when it comes to hardware.

    • Shawn Scarborough profile imageAUTHOR

      Shawn Scarborough 

      7 years ago from The Lone Star State

      agvulpe--you are right. We tend to get over confident and that gets us into trouble. Thanks for your comments.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Shawn thanks for this information. I think because we don't have problems for a while and all goes quite we tend to relax with security but with your timely warning I will certainly be more careful in future.

    • Shawn Scarborough profile imageAUTHOR

      Shawn Scarborough 

      7 years ago from The Lone Star State

      Thanks for stopping by KoffeeKlatch Gals.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Wonderful tips on viruses. I guess no of our computers are truly safe. Great job. Thanks

    • Shawn Scarborough profile imageAUTHOR

      Shawn Scarborough 

      7 years ago from The Lone Star State

      Hi Lamme, sorry to hear about your virus problems at work. Thanks for taking the time to read my hub.

    • Lamme profile image

      Lamme 

      7 years ago

      Great tips Shawn, I just had virus that took a lot of work to get rid of. Hopefully, it's all gone now. Wish I would have read this sooner :)

    • Shawn Scarborough profile imageAUTHOR

      Shawn Scarborough 

      7 years ago from The Lone Star State

      Thanks for stopping by katiem2. I'm glad you found this information helpful.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 

      7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Great tips on computer viruses, thanks for clearing up the misconceptions on Top Myths about Computer Viruses.

    • profile image

      waynetheman 

      8 years ago

      I liked this article, it was very informative. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • profile image

      joebeal17 

      8 years ago

      This is good information to know. Thanks for posting it.

    • profile image

      khmohsin 

      8 years ago

      amazing info, thanks for sharing this.

      regards,

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