What is a virus?
Do not let your imagination going too far away as in reality, virus are very easy to understand. First of all, let's define what is a software: a software is a set of instructions that a programmer has written in a language that the computer understands. The computer reads these instructions as you read English, and he obey without question. Anyway, a computer can not think or ask himself questions, all he can do is to perform what it was programmed to perform, which is why it is so silly. In the same vein, a virus is nothing more than software that tells the computer to jump down to a bridge. Would you obey to that? Well I don't know for you, but the computer will.
Can a virus break my computer?
No, not at all. Virus are softwares, they can't do anything in the real physical world except what the parts let them accomplish. Since computer parts are not made to do more than what they are designed for, there's nothing a virus can do to damage them. Your clumsiness with your morning coffee is a far greater threat to your PC than a virus could ever be!
What damages can be caused by virus?
A virus can only damage sofwares and files (documents). In the worst scenario, a virus will cause problems for the most important software (the operating system
, usually Windows
) after which your computer will not boot, not because it is broken but because it is in a state similar to the day when we have left the factory without software, almost without instructions. You can know that it is nothing dramatic, almost every time your documents are still intact and only need to be saved before reinstalling your computer
However, you can know that the "real virus" are now very rare. The majority of infections are actually parasitic infections (spyware / adware). Very often "fake antivirus" that want to make you pay to disinfect your computer or other things that slow down your computer, display ads, etc. .. That is nothing serious, just enough to increase the voltage between you and the computer!
How to protect from virus?