Virus

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What Does Virus Mean?

A virus is a type of malicious software (malware) comprised of small pieces of code attached to legitimate programs. When that program runs, the virus runs.

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Techopedia Explains Virus

Viruses are malicious programs that spread throughout computer files without user knowledge. Most widespread virus infections spread through email message attachments that activate when opened. The vicious cycle of a virus perpetuates as infected emails are forwarded to multiple users. Viruses also spread through shared media, such as Universal Serial Bus (USB) drives.

Initially created as pranks, viruses are responsible for widespread and significant computer system and file destruction. Installing anti-virus software helps prevent, block or remove previously installed viruses.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.