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Can a DeltaTrak PDF data logger become infected with a computer virus? To answer this question, let’s take a look at what is a computer virus, based on what it does: 1) It attaches itself to computer files (i.e. applications, documents and procedures); 2) Once opened, it gives a computer a set of instructions; 3) It replicates itself; 4) It carries a malicious function, such as changing/corrupting files, or accessing passwords. As we can see, a computer virus is largely defined by how it functions.

As previously mentioned, a virus can only attach itself to a file which is located within physical memory. Examples of physical memory are Random Access Memory (RAM) and hard drives. RAM is used first for storing computer files. Generally, there are five ways a virus will gain access to your computer: 1) Opening an infected email attachment; 2) Visiting an infected website; 3) Opening a file which has a series of malicious instructions); 4) Viewing an infected advertisement; 5) Using an infected storage device such as a USB flash drive, CD, or DVD. When a computer is infected with a virus, some of the signs are, unusually slow performance, more frequent pop-ups, uninitiated password changes and unfamiliar programs starting when a computer is being powered on.

Let’s take a look at why a DeltaTrak PDF data logger cannot become infected with a computer virus. Simply put, the reason DeltaTrak’s PDF data loggers won’t become infected with viruses is because they do not utilize physical memory. They use virtual or emulated memory instead. How does virtual/emulated memory work? When virtual memory is used, a file from a PDF logger does not actually exist until the user opens it. When the file is opened, it is read by the PC and assembled, dynamically, by a set of instructions programmed into the logger. This process, coined “creation on the fly”, is unique to the processors used in DeltaTrak’s PDF logger. The content of the file created by the logger cannot be altered externally (i.e. by a virus), because the file content does not exist prior to being read by the PC. For this reason, a virus cannot attach itself to a DeltaTrak PDF data logger report.

Some DeltaTrak competitors sell loggers which have built-in flash memory chips. These can pose significant risk of virus infection, because they are considered physical memory, much like hard-disk drives.

To recap, a computer virus is a set of instructions which, once opened, attaches itself to a file in order to carry out a malicious function. In order to accomplish this, it must attach to a file located in physical memory. Because a DeltaTrak PDF data logger utilizes virtual memory, it cannot be infected by a virus, and therefore, poses no risk to a user’s system.

If you would like more information on this subject, or others related to DeltaTrak data loggers, you may contact your sales professional or Technical Support at 800-962-6776, Extension 5120.

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George joined DeltaTrak in 1997 as an Electronic Technician/Design Engineer and currently holds the position of Vice President of Research and Development.

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