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Computer Viruses

  • Date Submitted: 08/18/2010 03:14 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 48.1 
  • Words: 1309
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A plethora of negative magazine articles and books have
catalyzed a new kind of hypochondria among computer users: an
unreasonable fear of computer viruses. This hypochondria is possible
because a) computers are very complex machines which will
often behave in ways which are not obvious to the average user, and
b) computer viruses are still extremely rare. Thus, most computer
users have never experienced a computer virus attack. Their only
experience has been what they’ve read about or heard about (and
only the worst problems make it into print). This combination of
ignorance, inexperience and fear-provoking reports of danger is the
perfect formula for mass hysteria.
Most problems people have with computers are simply
their own fault. For example, they accidentally delete all the files
in their current directory rather than in another directory, as they
intended, or they format the wrong disk. Or perhaps someone
routinely does something wrong out of ignorance, like turning the
computer off in the middle of a program, causing files to get
scrambled. Following close on the heels of these kinds of problems
are hardware problems, like a misaligned floppy drive or a hard
disk failure. Such routine problems are made worse than necessary
when users do not plan for them, and fail to back up their work on
a regular basis. This stupidity can easily turn a problem that might
have cost $300 for a new hard disk into a nightmare which will
ultimately cost tens of thousands of dollars. When such a disaster
happens, it is human nature to want to find someone or something
else to blame, rather than admitting it is your own fault. Viruses
have proven to be an excellent scapegoat for all kinds of problems.
Of course, there are times when people want to destroy
computers. In a time of war, a country may want to hamstring their
enemy by destroying their intelligence databases. If an employee
is maltreated by his employer, he may want to retaliate, and he...

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