computer virus

Cultural Dictionary

computer virus definition


A program that enters a computer usually without the knowledge of the operator. Some viruses are mild and only cause messages to appear on the screen, but others are destructive and can wipe out the computer's memory or cause more severe damage.

Note: Computer viruses spread from machine to machine on disks or, more commonly, over the Internet.
Note: The creation of computer viruses can be part of cyberwarfare.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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