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Let's face it:  the last thing your computer needs is a virus.  Viruses are nasty programs designed to damage  computers and networks.  A virus may cause odd messages to appear on screens, spread itself by sending unintended emails to your email contacts, damage your data, or worse.  Whatever the case, a virus is never a welcome surprise.  

The Internet is a particularly dangerous tool for those who create viruses, as it provides them with access to so many computers, opening a whole new world of trouble.  

Most viruses spread when users share infected floppy discs, unknowingly run infected programs or open email attachments.  If you download software (or just open attachments from friends, relatives, or business associates), there's a chance you'll bring home one of these digital bugs.  Still, it's fairly easy to protect your computer and valuable info from viruses.  You'll just need to consistently do a couple of things:

1)  Never open, view or run an unexpected email attachment, even if it's from someone you know.  If you receive an unexpected attachment from a stranger, delete it.  If you receive one from someone you know, but can't tell for certain that they intended to send it to you (i.e. does the email contain personal references?), contact them via email or directly to verify that they really intended to send the attachment.  

2)  Install a quality anti-virus program and regularly update it.  There are excellent virus protection programs available that scan your hard drive and incoming email for viruses and delete them. Two of the best known are Norton Anti-Virus and McAfee Antivirus.  Both offer regular updates to handle newly discovered viruses and warning customers of suspected Hoax’s on the Internet.  Read more about Virus Protection here.