General English


  • noun a program which adds itself to an executable file and copies itself to other executable files each time an infected file is run


  • A computer program or programming code which replicates by seeking out other programs onto which to copy itself. It usually passes from computer to computer through the sharing of infected files, and goes unnoticed until it attacks, unless an antivirus program that recognizes the virus detects it first. The effects of a virus may be as slight as a friendly message appearing once on a screen, it might cause a system crash, or it may reach the extreme of destroying a hard drive. Also called virus program, or computer virus.

Information & Library Science

  • noun an infection in a computer system which can damage the software systems and the data

Media Studies

  • noun a short computer program, hidden within another, that makes copies of itself and spreads them, disrupting the operation of a computer that receives one.


  • noun a parasite consisting of a nucleic acid surrounded by a protein coat that can only develop in other cells. Viruses cause many diseases including the common cold, AIDS, herpes and polio.


  • noun a program that enters a computer and destroys or damages the information in it