This is KJ and here is my current virus information for the month.
What is a computer virus, and why is a virus infection such a big problem?? The first thing to understand is that viruses are not naturally occurring. They are deliberately created by a small minority of computer programmers.
A virus is a program that "infects" files in a computer. When one of those files is opened, the virus will start working on your computer, often with destructive consequences. Some viruses are relatively harmless and will only delete a few files from your hard drive. However other viruses are very dangerous and can do permanent damage to your computer.
A virus will replicate itself, which enables it to infect other computers. Once a virus starts to spread, it can very quickly infect a large number of computers, creating a big problem all around the world.
So how do viruses spread from one computer to another? The majority of viruses, particularly those that have been in the news in the last few years, are spread through e-mail attachments. If you're like me, your friends will often e-mail you attachments that contain funny stories, pictures, or programs that they want you to see.
Most viruses are disguised to appear as harmless attachments from your friends or colleagues. If you think an e-mail is from somebody you know, you are more likely to open an attachment to that e-mail which activates the virus. Many viruses 'steal' e-mail addresses from your email address book and then send themselves to all your contacts. You may be sending out a virus without even knowing it.
The most simple and basic precaution that you can take is not to open any attachment that you are uncertain about. Is the e-mail from somebody you know and trust and were you expecting the attachment? Is there a message in the e-mail body explaining what the attachment is?
Unfortunately you must learn to be suspicious of e-mails, even if they appear to have come from a friend or colleague. If you have any doubt, simply e-mail your friend or colleague and ask if they have sent you such an e-mail. If they say 'no' - that confirms it is a virus. Delete it immediately!
Good news for you!
Your @bmi.net email address automatically protects you from contracting an email virus. If an email is sent to your @bmi.net address and it contains a virus, it is not delivered to you. Instead, it is quarantined on a server and we notify you that it has been caught. You have a Message Center that you can go to and view where the message came from. Eventually the quarantined message will be deleted from your Message Center, so you do not need to take any action.
If you use a different email address other than your @bmi.net address, (such as @hotmail.com or @yahoo.com) you may be at risk. If you have questions or need help with this, please call BMI.
Here is a link to Microsoft's Security site which is full of information on how to keep your PC running clean!