Type I interferons (IFN-I) orchestrate numerous biological and cellular processes and are essential elements during host antiviral defense. After recognition of highly conserved virus signatures, a complex network of signaling events is rapidly initiated and leads to IFN-I synthesis. These cytokines directly induce a strong antiviral state and exert several immune-regulatory actions aimed at preventing virus spread. On the other hand, viruses evolved to evade or subvert the IFN-I system for their own benefit. In the present article, we review selective aspects of IFN-I induction and functions during several viral infections and discuss the beneficial and detrimental roles of IFN-I illustrated during lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection in its natural host, the mouse.