Is Your Computer Virus Free?
Malicious vandals, out there
in cyberspace, are hard at work constantly
dreaming up yet another new computer virus to sneak into your
Eugene Kaspersky, (of
Kaspersky Lab Virus Research), in a November 23, 2005 article
posted in Security News, said, "The number of new viruses and
Trojans is now increasing every day by a few hundred. (Our)
virus lab receives between 200 and 300 new samples a day."
That is Not a misprint. He said 200-300 per DAY!
The large majority of these pests are quiet and stealthy,
often doing damage before you become aware of them. Like human
viruses, their effects range from mostly benign to potentially
What should we do to have a virus free computer?
As in human viruses, there are two different
approaches to dealing with virus pests:
Prevention and Cure.
Preventing virus infection
begins by guarding access points to our computers.
For example, Do not open
suspicious e-mails or attachments without scanning them first.
Most anti-virus programs have a right-click option to scan a
selected file for viruses, which makes scanning easy.
Similarly, when you download software, eBooks or whatever,
always save to a file first, then scan the file before opening. If
you acquire data or software by floppy disk, CD or other
portable media, the same rule applies - scan it first!
A good firewall can help somewhat in keeping viruses at bay,
but there are so many ways to hide them in regular data or
software transfers that a firewall can't catch them all. Your firewall can
help, but don't rely on that alone.
As Benjamin Franklin said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a
pound of cure." However, sooner or later, some viruses are
going to get through your defenses and you will need
to turn to cures.
If you should get hit by a really bad virus, you could lose
most of your program and data files before you know that there is a problem!
The first step to enable cures is to prepare well in advance,
positioning and backing up your files for easy recovery. (see
Before and After Data Recovery).
A very effective method, if you can do it, is to set
up your computer with a smaller capacity hard drive (4-10giga
for your C:drive and a much larger hard drive for all your
data. You might even consider more than one drive partition
for your Data files.
Use your C:drive for programs only. Keep copies of your
software purchase receipts, registration and activation codes
and setup info in a file on your Data drive. You can always
download them again, if you can give the seller your purchase
info to show that you already bought.
Almost all virus infections will be in the program section of
the C:drive, so scan it daily. This won't take much time if
you have arranged for it to be relatively small. Many
anti-virus programs can be scheduled to make these daily scans
Then scan your (larger) data drive, or drives at least once or twice a
You should still back up your Data files frequently. If you
cannot backup everything, at least backup the crucial
information that would be difficult or impossible to replace.
CD and DVD burners are a good way to do this backup, as are
removable hard drives.
It is always good practice to record the setup key codes and
passwords in a separate journal or note book offline where the
information will be safe.
This is vital information you will
need when it comes time to reinstall the software programs you
purchased and downloaded over the internet.
Curing your Computer of
And of course, you will need good anti-virus programs to go
after the viruses and either quarantine or destroy them.
There are many anti-virus solutions. Some are good, many are
not. Here is how to find the good ones:
Look for programs that offer
both active and passive protection. Active protection
means that part of the program remains in your computer memory,
actively watching for potential incoming viruses. When
they detect a virus they can sound an alarm and give you
a series of options for dealing with it. Passive or
on-demand protection will let you ask for a scan of
specified areas when you want it, but it waits for you
Select your anti-virus software
based on the recommendations of independent testing
agencies. Checkmark (by westcoastlabs.org),
AV-test.org and PC World magazine are
among the most respected independent testers of anti-virus
software. For ratings of anti-trojan software, check with
Anti-trojan - Forum. Use more than one anti-virus and anti-trojan
program. Very few detect all problems, but what one
program misses, another may find and defeat
Keep your anti-virus programs up
to date. There is a running battle going on between
virus writer-spreaders and virus catch-and-destroy
experts. New viruses are found; new anti-virus program
patches to find and destroy them are usually ready
within hours or days of their detection.
Registry monitoring and cleaning software
you have these Registry Problem Symptoms - PC keeps
crashing at critical times, PC needs frequent rebooting,
unable to remove a program using add/remove dialog, PC runs
noticeably slower than when you first bought it.
We are caught in the cross fire, and until our software
is updated, we are still vulnerable to the new viruses.
In addition to using anti-virus software on your personal
computer, consider using an Internet Service Provider or
e-mail service that includes server-side (before it gets to
your computer) anti-virus and spam
e-mail filtering as a third layer of protection. Most of them
provide this protection, but make sure your ISP does, too.
In summary, be diligent, get good software, update it
frequently and run it often ... and stay alert to new developments
by subscribing to and reviewing the latest malicious
activities in newsletters like the "Security
Alert News reporter".
The struggle between new viruses and better anti-virus
software is ongoing, and developing rapidly. Keep yourself
And dont forget to
update your anti-spyware software
... Richard Rossbauer
Richard started his "Firewalls
and Virus Protection" website and "Security
Alert News Reporter" to help everyday Internet users
navigate safely through the Cyber Space that has become a 'Cyber
Jungle', loaded with ambushes and booby traps. He promotes his "Computer
Security Awareness Campaign" thru his website at
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