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on your computer
A virus can erase
all of your data! If everyone understood this they would
be more proactive in preventing viruses. The most common situation, is that people wait until after the fact before they take action
on viruses. Don't wait until you get a virus before deciding to protect against
Removing a Virus Infection
To remove a virus from your computer is sometimes a
challenging task and you will need virus removal tools (see link above). If you
have an antivirus program installed before you got infected with the virus you
are in better shape. If you do not have an antivirus program you will need the
virus removal tools and perhaps that assistance of a computer guy, it can be
tricky to remove a bad virus.How important is your data to you? If you lost
everything on your computer today--your address book, all of your documents
etc---how much of an inconvenience would that be
to you? If you can't stand the thought of it, you really should make sure that
your valuable information is protected against viruses. The fact is, it take so little effort to
prevent but takes so much effort to restore. Make sure you are running a
current version of an anti-virus program on your computer at all times!
Updating Virus Programs:In all versions of anti-virus software, you have to make sure you
download the latest monthly updates (virus definitions) from the web or it is
useless to have an anti-virus program at all. Most newer antivirus programs
will automatically update for you, so there is not excuse. Your data is only as
safe as your updates are recent. The key is to verify that the updates are being
downloaded. In Norton’s for example on the main status screen when you open it
you will see the virus definitions date. This should never be older than 4 days
old. If you think you are protected just because you have an antivirus program
installed...think again. You are NOT protected unless these updates are done.
These updates are where the fixes for the viruses are controlled.
People buy anti virus programs and think they’re totally secure, but it is not
that simple. Although that is the first step in staying protected it is up to
you to verify that your software us up to date and functioning properly.
Virus Removal Software Tools:
In our opinion, Norton’s is the best anti
virus program, hands down. There are certainly less expensive even free programs
available , but if you’ve ever experienced the frustration that comes from
losing irreplaceable data, you would gladly pay 10 times the price of the
program to retrieve what was lost. Norton’s is also user friendly and keeps
your program updated automatically.
There are procedures which you should familiarize
yourself with before you get the virus. Read your manual or refer to the
manufacturers website for more information. Also, if your software has detected
a virus it will give you the name of it. You can then visit their websites ,
read about the virus and how to repair or delete it. There are many
different types of viruses and more pop up every day, so you may encounter a
virus so bad your computer will not even start. If that is the case bring it to
us and we will take care of it for you.
A Few More Notes About Viruses:
Misleading applications can sneak onto your computer as you surf the Web.
Once installed, scammers use them to commit fraud and identity theft. Here’s
what you need to know to guard against spyware and other misleading
Read full article about
misleading virus applications on Symantec's site
Who's fault is it?
It is not your fault. A malicious person
somewhere created the virus and somehow, usually through email, you got it. If
you have been infected, keep in mind that even though the virus can be removed,
it does not guarantee that you will not get it again! Perhaps even the same day
if you are not careful.
Once you have successfully removed the virus, pay special attention to your
inbox. Carefully go through each email making sure you know the sender,
particularly mail with attachments. And don’t be fooled...your own mother could
unknowingly send you a virus and there is no guarantee that you will not be
We can't stress this enough. Again the frequency of your backups should be
directly proportionate to the value of your data. If it is priceless...back up
every day! A general rule of thumb is to back up at least once a week for
general data, word processing documents, pictures etc. For accounting data we recommend
backing up every time you add new information to your books. Quicken
and QuickBooks have a backup command right on the File menu....so no excuses!
Also viruses do not infect "write-protected" disks, so protect your
floppies and ZIP's after backing up. More on Backing Up
Automate the Task:
Most virus programs run automatically in the background by default. In other
words when you install Norton's it is already set to do this unless you
specifically turn it off. So, keep these programs running in the
background and set your alerts to receive live update from manufacturers (unless
you are using Norton's ....as mentioned it does it for you!).
Don't open attachments:
Viruses are very commonly linked to an e-mail attachment. So unless you know exactly what a file is and where it came
from...don't open it! If you get an e-mail and the subject line
says, "Hey you gotta read this!", e-mail
back and ask why. (This is a common method of tricking you into thinking that
the e-mail is from someone familiar.) If the sender does not have a clue as to
what you're talking about, trash the file and move on. Remember, most of the
time, but not always, you are not infected unless you open the attachment.
Avoid suspicious filenames:
If something is called "funnyjoke.exe", that doesn't mean
that's what it is. It is very easy to rename a file and make it seem innocuous.
Viruses and E mail
common way that viruses are spread is through E mail. Think of them like Trojan
horses. They can get inside your email box and reek havoc on your address book
possibly spreading the virus to everyone in your addressbook. A good rule of
thumb is: if you don’t recognize the sender, don’t open it.
Don’t be mislead by the fact that you know who it came from. Even if the E
mail came from your sweet and innocent grandmother, it could have been sent to
her by some misled hacker with too much time on his hands.
Be extra careful
about e-mails that are forwarded. Usually this is identified by having a
“FW:” preceding your subject line description. This is particularly
common if you are on the infamous joke list. If you have a friend or family
member who insists on sending you every joke that comes across the wire, be very
careful. If the email was forward, and worse forwarded by someone else before
that, you are increasing your chances of contracting a virus exponentially.
You can tell how many times it has been forwarded by the number of “FW’s”
in the subject line i.e., “FW:FW:FW etc”. This means that it was sent
to someone who sent to someone else who sent to your grandmother who sent it to
you. There is no way of knowing the original source of the message until it is
What can I do to prevent viruses from
infecting my computer?
The best thing that you can do is to make sure you are protected before
it happens. As mentioned, there is always a chance you could get it again
and again so make sure you are doing everything you can do. For more information
give us a call, we can give you some clear direction.
What is being done on a large scale?
Most large corporations already have anti-virus software. But, security
experts maintain that they need to come up with better procedures for frequently
updating their computers with the latest security patches to programs and
inoculations against new viruses.
Here’s an overview of what’s currently being done to combat viruses from
- Tech Industry: Software makers need to make their products less
vulnerable. In some cases, this requires line-by-line inspection and retooling
of code. They also need to automate systems for bulletproofing programs once
- Government: The feds already writing guidelines to make government
PC’s are more secure, but agencies need to put them into practice faster and
plug holes. The government also should require suppliers to build protections
into their products, as well as automatic upgrades—or risk losing lucrative
- Corporations: It’s not enough to buy security software. Companies
should continuously update their defenses and train employees to avoid
unwittingly letting viruses in—either by clicking on mysterious e-mail
attachments or doing unauthorized Web surfing.
- Individuals: Home PC’s should have anti-virus software installed on
every PC at home and work. Remember that a chain is only as strong as the
weakest link. So if you have a laptop that you use at work and home, you could
be carrying the infection back and forth. Make sure that you are protected on
Firewall Protection v.s. Virus Protection:
These are completely different:
Virus protection prevents malicious software, called viruses, to infect
the other software in your computer. This could be your operating system (Win98,
WinXP, Win2000 for example), or it could infect a Word or Excel document. If it
infected your operating system, it could prevent you from being able to log on
to your computer at all.
Firewall protection prevents "hackers" from gaining access directly to
your machine from a network or from the internet. If this happens they can
change all of your system settings, turn your display upside down, anything at
all just as if they were sitting in your seat in front of the computer.