A computer virus is a program that replicates itself. It is much like a virus that infects the human body, it replicates itself exponentially as each infected file continues to replicate itself (replicate= makes a copies of itself, either as new files or by attaching copies of itself to existing files, or even replacing the content of the existing files with only virus code). What that means is that the program does no need to do anything harmful. to your computer to be considered a virus.
Whether it does something harmful, does nothing at all, or does something helpful does not matter for it to be classified as a virus as long as it replicates or makes copies of itself. "HOLD ON" you say? A virus can do something helpful?" Thats right, if someone wrote a program that when run on your computer deposited a million dollars in your bank account, and this same program automatically made copies of itself, it would be considered a virus.
I can't speak for every other person on the planet but I personally have never seen or heard of a virus that did something helpful, at best they do something annoying like having bart simpson randomly pop his head onto your screen and say his trademark phrase "Don't have a cow man" or nothing at all.
Typically a virus that does nothing at all was just a test by the virus writer to see if she/he could exploit a securty flaw. When these "do nothing viruses" are spread, you can be sure that a modified version that does SOMETHING is sure to follow.
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