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This chapter is from the book


After spam, viruses are probably the most discussed email problem, and the thought of files being corrupted or deleted or computers being damaged is a frightening prospect for many computer users.

Many computer problems mistakenly get blamed on viruses, and sometimes this misdirected blame does more damage than a virus would have. Even hoaxes about viruses have become attacks and caused computer problems for many people.

Virus-infected attachments are opened for a variety of reasons, such as trusting the source, believing the source would be innocent, or being seduced by what you think the attachment contains. Therefore, keeping your virus protection running and up to date is essential. If you disable your virus protection software or fail to keep it up to date, you're not allowing the tool to do its work.

On the other hand, you can become so reliant on virus protection that you fail to recognize clear virus symptoms. In addition, viruses often get blamed for problems that are just common computer glitches. When you fall for a hoax or find a virus behind every bush, you can do more damage than most viruses can.

Trojan horses hide behind the promise of a software tool and do their damage behind the scenes. The damage caused by this malicious software can affect your own computer and be used to launch other attacks.

This chapter should have convinced you to install virus protection software and keep it up to date. You should also be cautious about opening attachments or downloading software, whether through email or directly from the Internet. These steps can help a great deal in protecting you from this type of attack.

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