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Fighting off Viruses

Posted by cotojo on April 25, 2007


Advancements in Antivirus Software Suites

Protecting your computer from a virus is getting harder
and harder each day.  While it may border on the paranoid,
it goes without saying that you can’t leave your guard down
for one second.  Even corporate giant Microsoft has found
its own systems compromised on more than one occasion. 

Remember the “good old days”, before the advent of the
Internet and downloadable programs?  Life was simple then
in terms of computer viruses.  With the primary way in
which a virus could be transmitted being limited to floppy
disks, the ability to catch and eradicate the virus was a
lot easier.    By today’s standards, it used to take quite
a while before a virus was able to infect a computer and
slow down the system.  The antivirus software of that time
was typically able to identify and eradicate viruses before
they caused too much damage.  Additionally, computer users
were pretty savvy on how to protect themselves in terms of
scanning all floppy disks before copying them to our
desktop. 

The Internet helped change all that.  The Internet
provided a conduit by which viruses could move from host to
host with lightening speed.  No longer could a computer
user just worry about floppy disks as points of entry, but
they now had to worry about email, email attachments, peer-
to-peer file sharing, instant messaging, and software
downloads.  Today’s viruses can attack through multiple
entry points, spread without human intervention, and take
full advantage of vulnerabilities within a system or
program.  With technology advancing everyday, and the
convergence of computers with other mobile devices, the
potential of new types of threats also increase. 

Protecting Your Computer
Luckily, the advancement of antivirus software has kept
pace with current virus threats.   Antivirus software is
essential to a computer’s ability to fend off viruses and
other malicious programs.  These products are designed to
protect against the ability of a virus to enter a computer
through email, web browsers, file servers and desktops.
Additionally, these programs offer a centralized control
feature that handle deployment, configuration and updating.
A computer user should remain diligent and follow a few
simple steps to protect against the threat of a virus:

1. Evaluate your current computer security system.
With the threat of a new generation of viruses able to
attack in a multitude of ways, the approach of having just
one antivirus software version has become outdated.  You
need to be confident that you have protected all aspects of
your computer system from the desktop to the network, and
from the gateway to the server.  Consider a more
comprehensive security system which includes several
features including antivirus, firewall, content filtering,
and intrusion detection.  This type of system will make it
more difficult for the virus to penetrate your system.

2. Only install antivirus software created by a well-
known, reputable company. 
Because new viruses erupt daily, it is important that you
regularly update your anti-virus software.  Become familiar
with the software’s real-time scan feature and configure it
to start automatically each time you boot your computer.
This will protect your system by automatically checking
your computer each time it is powered up. 

3. Make it a habit to always scan all new programs or
files no matter from where they originate.

4. Exercise caution when opening binary, Word, or Excel
documents of unknown sources especially if they were
received during an online chat or as an attachment  to an
email. 

5. Perform regular backups in case your system is
corrupted.  It may be the only way to recover your data if
infected.

Recommended Antivirus Software
There are numerous applications available to consumers.
With a little research, you can pick the program that is
right for you.  Many programs provide a trial version,
which allows you to download the program and test its
abilities.  However, be aware that some anti-virus programs
can be difficult to uninstall.  As a precaution make sure
to set up a System Restore point before installing. 

Here are a few programs, which typically receive high
marks in terms of cost, effectiveness, ease of use, and
customer service.

The Shield Pro 2005™ provides virus protection and hacker
security through ongoing support and updates. When a virus
breaks out, The Shield Pro 2005™ promises to provide a
patch within 2-3 hours and a fix for the virus within 5
hours. You can set your computer to update viruses weekly
and run a complete virus scan.

BitDefender 9 Standard provides antivirus protection, as
well as Peer-2-Peer Applications protection, full email
protection, and heuristics in a virtual environment.  This
provides a new security layer that keeps the operating
system safe from unknown viruses by detecting malicious
pieces of code for which signatures have not been released
yet.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus Personal 5.0  program is simple to
install and use. The user only needs to choose from three
levels of protection.  It allows updates as frequently as
every hour while promising not to disrupt your computer.
The program also offers a two-tier email protection feature
and round-the-clock technical support.

PC-cillin Internet Security  combines antivirus security
and a personal firewall-for comprehensive protection
against viruses, worms, Trojans, and hackers. It also
detects and removes spyware and blocks spam. It even guards
against identity theft by blocking phishing and pharming
attacks.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is a free downloadable
antivirus program that has received high marks for its
reliability.  In the past, free downloadable antivirus
programs have been viewed skeptically because of issues
relating to its reliability.  However, AVG from Grisoft,
remains one of the best-known free anti-virus programs
available.  While AVG cannot be installed on a server
operating system and there is no technical support, it
still makes a good choice for many home computer users.
The best part is that since it is free, you can try it with
no further obligation necessary.

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3 Responses to “Fighting off Viruses”

  1. […] read more | digg story […]

  2. cotojo said

    Thanks for the info John. I have briefly covered encryption in another post, and agree that P2P applications are very much an open source for for virii, hackers and so on.
    I will take the time to have a look at gigatribe as I am all for promoting anything that is free and beneficial to surfers.

  3. John said

    I suspect a lot of people get virii because they download random files off the internet. Kazaa/eMule are great places to download dangerous junk. I highly recommend that people who want to exchange files over the internet (including entire folders of files) do so using encrpted solutions (and only with friends or people they know). A great new app is GigaTribe, it encrypts all exchanges, no files size limits, and is free from any spyware/adware. Their webiste is http://www.gigatribe.com

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