When a human contracts a virus, it's a problem that critically affects their health. Depending on the type of virus, it may just be a simple annoyance. Left unchecked, however, even a simple virus can wreak havoc on the body, generating symptoms that are at the least irritating, at worst, deadly.
Computers are obviously quite different from our human bodies. In many ways, though, we are very similar. For instance, like humans, computers are sensitive to infections and can be sickened or even destroyed by viruses.
Once your computer has contracted a virus, it can be very difficult if not impossible to get rid of. A better resolution is to prevent your computer from ever being infected. To best understand how to protect your computer from a virus, it's good to know a few basics about both computers and the viruses that can ruin them.
While many of us own computers and even use them on a daily basis, few of us understand how they work. Your computer is a machine that stores, retrieves, and processes data. Because it is a machine, it always requires specific instructions to perform any task. Software are programs or applications that provide a series of instructions to your computer. Consider programs that you use regularly. Do you listen to music? Type letters? Check your email? If so, you're using programs that will allow you to play a song, create a document, or send a note on the Internet. Behind the scenes, your computer is receiving tons of invisible instructions from each of these programs.
A virus is also a program. It's a nasty little program that tricks your computer into doing things that are not good for it - or you. A virus may take over your computer, seek out personal information, or even destroy your hard drive. There is one major difference between viruses that affect humans and computers, though. While a human may get sick by accident, computer viruses are always the product of someone's malicious intent. Whether created by a precocious programmer or a malicious team of hackers, computer viruses are always an intentional infection.
Much like prevention can keep you from getting sick, you can take defensive measures to protect your computer. To keep your computer infection free, use virus protection programs, your operating system's built-in defenses, and your own diligence. A healthy computer is a working computer.