A computer can contract a virus just like a person can. Viruses are programs spread from computer to computer without any assistance from the computer user - they copy themselves into files and programs, spread across a network or send themselves via e-mail messages.
It is much harder in 2010 for a virus to spread itself than it was in 2000. Most malware needs user assistance to spread these days. However, viruses are still out there and can do a lot of harm if your software or operating system is unpatched and without current anti-virus software.
Malware is the modern term for evil software that infects your computer. It includes viruses, trojan horses or 'trojans'(programs you install on your computer that claim to be legitimate but secretly carry out evil functions), bots (programs that allow criminals to operate your computer remotely or give it orders).
Modern malware is very adept at hiding itself from anti-virus because it is written by professional programmers in labs that have anti-virus software to test against. A complete defense requires you to update all your software and operating systems, in addition to running anti-virus software.
From time to time you might receive an e-mail message that will tell you to forward it to "everyone you know" to warn them of some particular issue or computer problem. Most of these messages are hoaxes; and their proliferation consumes people energy and e-mail resources. Please do NOT forward these types of messages to anyone.
If you are unsure about such a message, contact the Anytime Support Help Desk for assistance.