In computer programming the term “virus” is a piece of code that may be connected to other programs or files. They hide until they are activated and are capable of doing anything from destroying data to sending emailed that clog the inboxes of users, to erasing hard drives. Computer viruses are classified into four phases that are based on the classification that biologists use to describe the life-cycle of a virus.

However, most people don’t create viruses to cause harm. There are a few reasons. One reason is bragging rights. For example an infant who folds his paper airplane in a clever and innovative method to test how far the plane can fly before it comes to a stop. Some people are motivated by the same psyche as vandals and arsonists – they enjoy the thrill of destruction of property owned by others. For a particular type of programmer, a virulent computer virus can be an Mount Everest, and they’re determined to discover how far they can take it while trying to avoid detection.

Certain viruses have polymorphic code that changes slightly each time they infect a computer or program. This makes it difficult for anti-virus companies locate and remove all copies of a system. Other viruses rely on a “trigger” to become active and begin spreading, such as a user action or a timed countdown (to conceal the source of the virus).

If you make an infection, trojan malware, worm, or any other malicious software for revenge or payback, pranks, or any other reason, it’s not likely to solve anything and could lead to legal action. Instead, consider the alternatives that are less risky and certainly more enjoyable than creating malicious software that could cause serious damage or even wipe your entire hard drive.