With the current volume of E-mail and Internet use, the Anti-Virus software on your computer is, simply, the most critical software on your computer!
Having worked for numerous years with Personal Computers, I have seen the volume of PC virus infections increase dramatically. These viruses are also getting more insidious and destructive. I am now seeing two or three customers a week with a virus. Frequently the damage requires complete re-installation of all the software on the machine. This means significant expense and, occasionally, loss of important personal or business data.
About 30% of the machines that come to my shop have NO virus protection at all. Of the ones that have a virus scanner installed, only about 50% keep the protection up to date. I never let a machine leave my shop without a thorough scan and current virus protection installed!
I frequently hear people saying, "I don't worry... I never open an attachment from someone I don't know." Poor choice! Can you guarantee your friends have a virus scanner program? More important, do they keep their “new virus definitions” up to date? Being wary of attachments is OK, but in today's world viruses can come in normal E-mail! If you can accept HTML E-mail, the default for Internet Explorer and Netscape, you can get a virus in a normal E-mail! The KAK Worm Virus is one of these that has shown its ugly self all too often this year (2001).
Wouldn't it just be easier to keep YOUR Virus Scanner current? Barring some new breed of virus, your worries about E-mails or attachments are over.
Allow me to explain. All viruses have digital signitures, kind of similar to bad guys having fingerprints. The police keep their fingerprint files up to date. You must keek your virus scanner's 'fingerprint' database up to date also. Just going out and getting the latest scanning program is not enough. “New” software you buy off the shelf will probably be 3 or 4 months old at best. You can check the program’s version and the last date of the scanner’s installed virus definitions by running the program. Clicking “about” in the help menu usually gives you the date. You must keep your virus scanning definitions up to date. I recommend weekly. Also, if practicle (slow speed, dialup access makes this difficult at best) also keep your Windows Critical Updates done. Doing this would have stopped the "Blaster" worm in its tracks.
TO KEEP CURRENT
The update service from the Web is free in many cases. In ten minutes
or less, you can download and install the latest data files.
Folks, keeping your virus scanner current, at least every 2 weeks, is a must!
The update service from the Web is free in many cases. In ten minutes or less, you can download and install the latest data files.
There are many programs available. The most popular are McAfee’s Virus Scan (Network Associates) and Norton’s Anti-Virus (Symantec). These are priced products, but there are reliable free scanners also. Below are links to the more popular scanners and their updated DAT files (also called definition, signature, or pattern files). I shall try to keep this list current for your safety.
ALERT TO OVER-BUYING
You should not need to pay more than $29.95 + tax for a scanner program. Its hard to buy only the scanning program frequently since they want to sell a full suite of applications for more money. If you use dialup access a firewall probably is not necessary and can cause problems down the road.
Generally speaking, you only need the virus scanner program. Please avoid buying a “package” of several programs, especially if you do not fully understand their purpose or use. Read the packing box before buying. Read the manual and online information before installing.
If you are confident that you need other “safety” or “trouble-shooting utilities,” install them only after reading about them. If possible, find others who are using your version of Windows. Learn from their experience. Even then, be warned. You install these other utilitites at your own risk. You may find yourself running a slower PC with incomprehensible screen messages, hard drive problems and even lost data.
THERE IS NO SUBSTITUE FOR REGULAR BACKUP OF YOUR IMPORTANT FILES
A Few Virus Scanning Programs and Update Addresses
Version 4 or higher recommended. Version 2001 is now available.
latest data files found at: http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/download/pages/US-N95.html
Version 4 or higher recommended.
latest data files found at: http://download.mcafee.com/updates/4xa.asp?as=false&ref=5
to update the program, go to http://download.mcafee.com/updates/superDat.asp
AVG (Anti Virus Grisoft) http://www.grisoft.com/us/us_dwnl_free.php
Version 6 or higher. This is currently a FREE program
with FREE updates for home users. It is my personal choice and has saved me numerous times. Updates are available while online
from within the program itself. Click the 'Virus Database' block then 'update'.
E-Trust Antivirus and can be acquired for
$19.95 at: https://www2.my-etrust.com/commerce/buy.it
An excellent program which replaced their very popular 'InoculateIT' free version. After purchase free updates are available.