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By Maxwell Z. Rubin
Many computer users live in fear of computer viruses. It is true that computer viruses can do a lot of damage that most likely could have been easily prevented – that is if they had a working up to date virus program.
First of all be reassured. Even if your computer is ‘wiped clean’ or ‘wiped out’ you may not be in the doghouse so to speak. If you use the computer mainly for browsing on the internet, then it is only a matter of a reinstall of windows to get you on the web again. Your computer is only a device to access the internet. It is as if you get a new phone to plug into the wall or a new TV to watch the channels that were there that were and are still there.
Your email most likely is safe as well. If you use a web based mail program like hotmail or yahoo to access your email – then your email is most likely still sitting on that company’s server in California, Bombay India or somewhere else in the world. If Microsoft goes bust, your lost email will be the least of your problems in today’s world. If you use a mail reader client like Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express, then at the worst your new email is sitting safely at that computer mail server computer.
Next it can be can be said that we have gotten off easy with computer viruses. Well at least up the present. Computer viruses can be written by its developer to do anything the developer wishes. For the most part computer viruses have been relatively innocuous. The majority of the computer viruses that you will encounter, at present, in your career as computer user, are of the ‘Trojan’ variety and are not that mean or destructive to your computer.. Trojan antivirus are computer viruses that patiently sit in wait for a signal from a control computer, somewhere in the world, to be part of a large scale computer attack on some remote computer to overwhelm that service and disrupt its function on the internet.. You may have heard such tales in regards to C.N.N. or Amazon having their internet service being knocked out of service maliciously. Believe it or not it is estimated that up to 50 – 60 % of most computers have these Trojan viruses sitting quietly and patiently in their computers and do not know and most likely will never know that they are infected.
The first rules of computer security is that if the computer is used at for storing delicate, sensitive or important data – then that computer should not be attached to the internet or have an internet connection. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t talk then you can never be accused of blabbing.
As an example there was a firm that was allowed access to very confidential government data as part of its business plan.. It was made very clear, by the government agency involved as a sponsor, that this data was most confidential. I f this information was somehow leaked or placed on the internet then dire consequences would occur. What could be a simpler message? And yet in this case, all for the convenience of the owner of the firm, the computer was directly attached to a fax computer. Even of that computer was only connected to the fax max machine computer for a split second that is all it would take for the wrong information to ‘get out’. Politicians follow the rule of deniability. Why shouldn’t you. ? Make your life trouble free. If the computer is nowhere near the internet in any way shape or form you can never be blamed. Simple as that.
The most important factor in computer antivirus protection is not so much the product used or installed – and there is no shortage of very reasonable computer antivirus products. The most important factor for computer antivirus security protection is that updates for the antivirus be done on a regular basis.
When you purchase a new antivirus product or complete a renewal product that is in essence what you are doing. It as if you are buoying a magazine subscription for the year.
By purchasing the subscription you are now entitled to antivirus updates for the coming year. New computer viruses are coming out ‘all the time’. It does you little good to be protected from last years plague. You need to be protected from the current viruses that are causing the havoc now.
Make sure that you either have a copy of an antivirus installed that has current virus definitions or if you purchased a commercial product that you have a valid subscription that allows you access to the current up to date virus lists. Next be sure that you run regular full comprehensive antivirus scans to detect and quarantine new and perhaps dangerous computer viruses. More featured commercial antivirus programs may do this automatically.
In the end most of life comes down to preparation and attention to detail. A major role of fire departments is not only to fight fires but fire prevention. Your computer antivirus protections scheme and program should be likewise
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