Cyber Crooks don't want you to have a Virus Free Comput
er

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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 computer.

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 fatal.

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 bytes) 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 automatically.

Then scan your (larger) data drive, or drives at least once or twice a month.

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 existing viruses

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 to ask.
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.
Consider adding Registry monitoring and cleaning software if 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 up-to-date.

And don’t forget to update your anti-spyware software programs, too.

                                                                               ... Richard Rossbauer

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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 http://www.firewalls-and-virus-protection.com
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Richard
www.RichardPresents.com

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