Microsoft recently released its own version of anti-virus protection, and there are numerous third parties which do the same. We list a few of these software packages below, and include anti-virus software for other operating systems as well.
Computer viruses are pieces of software which attach copies of themselves to one or more files in a computer system. Like viruses in biology (e.g. the flu virus), they may spread from file to file, and from computer to computer. When they attach themselves to your files they can change the way those files work or they can stop your computer from working properly. Some rare viruses may even damage or destroy your files.
Viruses belong to a class of software called "malware". Malware includes viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, key loggers and more. The writers of malware may have a benevolent intent, such as companies who write key loggers so your employer may know what you are up to, but by and large writers of malware seek to hold your computer hostage, destroy your computer or find a way to extort financial information from you.
Anti-virus software is software that intends on keeping the viruses and other kinds of malware at bay. Today most anti-virus software does a good job of protecting your computer, and if you keep your software up to date with the latest malware databases, by and large your computer will be fine. Keeping your database up to date will often be your greatest challenge.
Content last modified: November 19, 2012, 9:21am