When people talk of a virus these days, chances are that they are talking about computer viruses that have the power to wipe out all the valuable work they may have stored in their computers. Imagine, this virus has the power to make military systems, giant banks, airports, hospitals and traffic systems come to a halt!

The softer the name of the virus, the deadlier it may get. Remember the recent Love Bug virus which created such trouble all over the world? It came as an ‘I Love You’ message and anyone who opened that love-filled e-mail, was caught in the virus trap.

What does a computer virus do? It targets electronic objects that are programmed. The virus spreads through connections between these electronic devices. For virus spreading experts, e-mail is a favourite method of unleashing their destructive weapon.

Your Mobile Phone Has a Bug: Illustration of a virus on a smartphone
Your Mobile Phone Has a Bug: Illustration of a virus on a smartphone

But scientists warn that this is not the worst that can happen. There is more. For people are also connected through phones. The next virus may actually target mobile phones, especially those that are programmed to do many tasks apart from just communicating. It would then be easy for a virus to infect those programmes and create major disorder.

For example, these viruses may have the power to record your phone conversations and make others hear them. They could create problems with your electronic money accounts, or they could create a mountain of telephone bills for calls you never made. And that would be a disaster. A report on this was published in the ‘New Scientist’ recently.

One way out would be to have simpler phones with not so many different functions. That way there would be fewer programmes for the virus to attack. But mobile phone manufacturers are in a fix. People no longer want an electronic item to perform just one task. They want more and more functions added on. That would mean more software programmes to make the mobile phone perform all those functions. And that means the possibility of more viruses.

347 words | 3 minutes
Readability: Grade 6 (11-12 year old children)
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Filed under: science news
Tags: #computers

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