The number of viruses doing the rounds is constantly increasing. The majority
of viruses do not cause physical damage to computers but instead cause chaos by
replicating themselves and bringing e-mail servers all over the world to a
standstill. The majority of well-known viruses, like "Melissa" and "I love you"
have adopted this strategy. Some viruses, however, do damage your PC by modifying
the operating system, reformatting the hard drive or even destroying physical
components on the motherboard.
The best way to avoid becoming infected is to use common sense. Most viruses
can only work if you open an attachment, so you should never open an attachment
if you are not sure what it contains. Instead, just delete the e-mail completely.
If your PC does become infected, you might not even realise it. Some viruses simply
remain dormant on your PC and become active on a particular date, while others might
silently send themselves to everyone in your address book and you won't know about
it until one of the recipients of these e-mails gets in touch to tell you.