Computer Virus Basics 101
What is a computer virus?
A computer virus is any form of malicious programming, which enters your computer system without your consent. Viruses can take the form of one of three categories:

Adware - Typically manifests in the form of a pop up windows or programs attempting to solicit you into make a purchase under the guise of cute and friendly addons to enhance your computer experience, such as screen savers, smiley faces, etc.

Malware - Most commonly shows up in the form of computer utility programs which run automatically and report "serious" computer conditions that need to be corrected. Often these virus programs which try to get you to purchase a retail copy, required to remove the ficticious erros that it has found. Often these programs will redirect you to a website to make the purchase and can track your purchase information, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft.

Trojans - This is the most severe form of computer virus often found in todays computer. Trojans can take many forms including Boot Section and Rootkit viruses. These viruses can be difficult to nearly impossible to clean out, depending on the degree of infection. There main goal is to nullify your windows security to allow for other forms of trojan virues and malware to infect your system. Infections on this level often require specialize anti-viral software to remove these threats.

How did it get into my computer?
Computer viruses can enter your computer in any number of ways. The most common ways are through infected emails, downloading compromised files from sites such as torrent and music sharing websites and from visiting compromised websites..

How can I clean it?
There are a number of utilities which can be download and installed to clean out mild to moderate levels of infection. MalwareBytes is one of the most common clean up programs and can be downloaded and used at no cost. Other programs such as Hitman Pro and Combo Fix can be used to clean deeper infections. Severe infections will often require you to bring the computer to a service center where specialized technicians can perform the clean up.

How can I avoid getting infected in the future?
While there is no guaranteed method to avoid getting computer virues, there are several safeguards that you can do to minimize the amount of risk:

1. Always keep a good Anti-Virus program installed in your computer. This is your first line of defense against infections.

2. Make sure to keep your computer updated with the latest Windows Critical updates. These will patch any security holes that have been dectected by major security companies and patched by Microsoft..

3. Perform regular anti-virus and anti-malware sweeps using a program such as MalwareBytes. These will often help catch any malicious programs before they have a chance to unload their payload and infect your system.