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The term “computer virus” calls to mind imagery of pathogenic creepy-crawlies bringing down a device’s operating system, their flagella wriggling as they multiply into hordes that infiltrate its chips and wires. And while it’s true that our computers can be infected with literal biological bacteria like staphylococci, per Science Illustrated, the threat of malicious codes and programs intent on corrupting data and files looms far larger: According to a recent study from the University of Maryland’s Clark School of Engineering, attacks on computers with internet access is virtually ceaseless, with an incident occurring every 39 seconds on average, affecting a third of Americans every year.

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