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Computer viruses: What they are, how they work, how they might get you, and how to control them in academic institutions

Abstract

A computer virus is a program that replicates itself and spreads to computers with the goal of disrupting or destroying normal computer use. In academic computing, viruses represent a serious problem that costs millions of dollars in losses annually and hinders the free exchange of information so critical to education. Viruses operate in incubation, infection, and destroy phases. The nature, mechanisms, and preventive measures for personal-computer viruses are reviewed. Different procedures are recommended to protect research laboratories, instructional laboratories, and software lending libraries. Tradeoffs between providing adequate protection and not having the security become too burdensome are considered.

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Correspondence to Walter Schneider.

Additional information

This work was supported in part by Office of Naval Research Contracts N00014-87-K-0397 and N00014-86-K-0678 and Army Research Institute Contract MDA903-86-C-0149.

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Schneider, W. Computer viruses: What they are, how they work, how they might get you, and how to control them in academic institutions. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers 21, 334–340 (1989). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03205604

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Keywords

  • False Alarm
  • Computer Virus
  • Floppy Disk
  • Public Site
  • Executable File