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Viruses are software programs, and they can do the same things as any other programs running on a computer. The actual effect on information security or data security of any particular virus depends on how it was programmed by the person who wrote the virus. Some viruses are deliberately designed to damage files or otherwise interfere with your computer's operation, while others don't do anything but try to spread themselves around and compromise internet security. But even the ones that just spread themselves are harmful, since they damage files and may cause other problems in the process of spreading.