Virus Protection



Virus Protection

A virus is a computer program that can replicate itself and spread from one computer to another. If you do not get rid of the virus, there is a strong likelihood that eventually you'll pass it on to someone else and if that is a supplier or customer; this may cost you a lot of money in lost business as it will reflect on you and your business.

At least 99% of viruses are memory resident, so there is the possibility of incompatibilities between the virus and other programs you are running; including your main business software!

In addition, even though the virus might be well known you will remain nervous that the virus does more than has been documented or that you have a different version of the virus.

In other words you must get rid of the virus.

Getting rid of the virus will take time and your time is money. Every PC you have must be wiped and this may take at least an hour per PC. In addition every external drive will need to be cleaned as well as every e-mail with an attachment. Of course it would be cheaper if you only had to worry about those computers and external drives that are infected, but of course you don't know which ones these are; so you have to check everything.

Viruses increase their chances of spreading to other computers by infecting files on a network file system or a file system that is accessed by other computers and most companies now have access to their system from employee homes and other external devices.



Here is a simple 4-step process for removing any virus

  1. Find a recommended virus-scan software manufacturer's Web site and install their software together with any virus updates that are available. Make sure any software you buy has free updates available regularly as you will need up-to-date protection; new viruses are produced every day.
  2. Run the software. The software may not be able to delete the virus, but it may be able to identify it. You can then search the Web for information regarding your specific virus by typing the name of the virus or its associated file into a search engine followed by the word "virus."
  3. Download and install any patches or other programs that will help you eliminate the virus. Or follow any instructions you find on deleting the virus manually.
  4. Run, and keep running, virus scans until there are no viruses left and then run scans regularly.

Then institute proper procedures for you and your staff!

  1. No downloading from the internet to business PC’s.
  2. No visiting inappropriate sites on company machines.
  3. No downloading viral attachments (jokes / videos / etc.) to company PC’s.

Viruses do not get on company PC’s by themselves; someone in your company put them there!

Spyware

Spyware is software or hardware installed on a computer without the user's knowledge which gathers information about that user for later retrieval by whomever controls the spyware. Spyware can be broken down into two different categories:

  • surveillance spyware and
  • advertising spyware.

Surveillance software includes key loggers, screen capture devices, and trojans. These would be used by corporations, private detectives, law enforcement, intelligence agencies, suspicious spouses, etc.

Advertising spyware is software that is installed alongside other software or via activex controls on the internet, often without the user's knowledge, or without full disclosure that it will be used for gathering personal information and/or showing the user ads. Advertising spyware logs information about the user, possibly including passwords, email addresses, web browsing history, online buying habits, the computer's hardware and software configuration, the name, age, sex, etc of the user.

As with spam, advertising spyware uses the CPU, RAM, and resources of the user's computer, making the user pay for the costs associated with operating it. It then makes use of the user's bandwidth to connect to the internet and upload whatever personal information it has gathered, and to download advertisements which it will present to the user, either by way of pop up windows, or with the ad banners of ad-supported software. All of this can be considered theft in the cases of advertising spyware that installs without disclosure.

The most benign form of spyware simply takes note of what types of websites you visit and communicates the information to its source. For advertisers, this adware form of spyware allowed them to only send advertisements you were likely to be interested in.

The theory being that it saved wasting anyone's time on products you wouldn't likely care about or want to buy. Of course, that was the theory. The practice has become one of abuse, with so many packaged adware or spyware programs downloaded, you may never know who is watching.

While there are different viruses that act spyware and render malicious damage to your PC, bandwidth and sometimes your modem, spyware may take the same format and render similar damage.

Most spyware is installed after downloading some type of free program or attachment from someone you don't know. Sophisticated processes can hide in .dll files and be incredibly difficult to remove even for spyware zapper programs.

The initial idea behind spyware or adware may not have been so bad. However, they will take up lots of valuable CPU and RAM space on your machine, clogging your Internet bandwidth, which can create noticeable delays when you are doing normal day-to-day activities. It can slow down reboot processes because of adding unwanted programs to your start up menu.

Those downfalls are just what happens with the programs not designed to hijack your browser, point it at porn sites, download pornographic material, steal your address books, stored credit card information or create a waypoint for hacking into other's machines.

Spyware is a very real villain in the cyber world. The majority of computer and Internet users do not believe these types of programs affect them, yet more often than not; they have hopefully been protected by firewalls and anti-virus software that combat them.

Avoiding irresponsible net behavior, such as downloading programs or files from an unknown sender, the taking of free offers of packaged software, including games, giveaways, software and utilities may prove detrimental to the life and function of your machine. Many of these packaged programs carry hidden within their walls spyware of some type.

So whether it is designed to discover which web merchants you visit most often or what credit card information you have stored on your machine, spyware is a very real threat in a world where the Internet is seemingly as important to everyday activity as a pair of shoes. The best advice is to be aware, in addition to installing anti-virus software with firewall.



Antivirus Services

Everyone has heard of the leading antivirus vendors Symantec, Mcafee, Computer Associates, and Trend Micro. These companies have market-leading presence in the United States. Microsoft, as well, has plans become a key player in this market. Microsoft acquired intellectual property and technology from GeCad software, a company based in Bucharest, Romania. They also acquired Pelican Software, which had a behavior based security as well as Giant Company Software for spyware and Sybari Software, which manages virus, spam, and phishing filtering.

A lot of discussion has centered on whether Microsoft with come to own a dominant position in the antivirus market by simply bundling its technologies with its operating systems at no charge. This is a similar technique applied in other markets such as word processing and Internet browsers.

Of course there are a number of antivirus vendors who also play in this market. There are many companies with great market presence in other countries that are beginning to become more widely known. These vendors include GriSoft out of the Czech Republic, Sophos in the united Kingdom, Panda Software out of Spain, Kaspersky in Russia, SoftWin in Romania, F-Secure in Finland, Norman in Norway, Arcabit in Poland, VirusBuster out of Hungary, and AhnLab in South Korea.

It is not clear where the industry is heading and everyone in this market faces a rapidly changing landscape. The amount of effort to find and provide fixes for viruses is staggering. Malicious programs are getting more complex and the number of them is increasing. Many companies may find themselves without the resources to match the efforts of those truly bent on creating havoc. Some virus companies are getting of hundreds of new samples a day! Moreover, the new viruses are getting "smarter" in that they propagate themselves quickly and they often hide themselves and are smart enough to move around in a system by renaming themselves in an effort to make it hard to remove them.

Most traditional antivirus programs rely on their database. Potentially hazardous files are matched against the database to see whether they are to be considered safe or not. Since a new virus can spread world wide within a few hours it can cause severe damage to your computer long before the manufacturer of the antivirus program identifies the virus and updates the database. You also need to go online to import the manufacturers' database to you antivirus program, which means that your computer will be online totally unprotected. The new Panda Titanium Active Scan Anti Virus 2005 however, contains TruPrevent Technologies: a new system designed to protect your computer against unknown viruses and intruders.

Every now and then you can read about a new virus and the damage it causes. The millions of viruses cost companies each time they strike. It is however not only companies that are suffering from the damages caused by viruses. A virus can be just as damaging if not more for a private Internet user by destroying important documents, family pictures and everything else you keep on your computer. Therefore should no home computer be without a good virus protection software. This way you can protect your computer and yourself from losing data, corrupted hard drives and a number of other problems. There are several anti virus programs available of which some are free and some are not. You should however always remember that you might get what you paying for, meaning that the service and the updates might be better for the paid alternatives and thereby protect your computer better.

When using a virus program you should try to find one that is fast, reliable and able to discover as many viruses as possible. Whether it is fast or not might seem unimportant if you don't use your computer that much, but you will find that an anti virus program that scans your computer faster will be used more frequently and thereby giving you a better protection. If an anti virus program should be effective when protecting your computer it needs to be able to recognise all viruses, and since new viruses are constantly created this means that the database for the program has to be constantly updated. You should therefore consider how often the different anti virus programs update their databases when choosing which antivirus program to get. You should always make sure to keep your virus program up-to-date.



Best Anti-virus Software

  • F-Secure Internet Security. F-Secure’s latest suite offers excellent protection and a friendly user interface.
  • Norton Internet Security. With its great detection rate and Windows 8-ready design, Norton’s suite is definitely worth a look.
  • Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security. This “titanium” suite earned high marks in almost all our detection tests, and it has a nice interface.
  • Bitdefender Internet Security. Bitdefender has a user-friendly interface that will appeal to people of all experience levels.
  • Kaspersky Internet Security. Kaspersky lets both beginners and advanced users get the most out of its suite, and scored well in our tests.
  • McAfee Internet Security. McAfee didn’t earn top marks, but it’s still a proficient, user-friendly antimalware program.
  • G Data InternetSecurity. G Data has an effective suite, but installation is a hassle, with a settings panel that's more suited to advanced users.
  • AVG Internet Security. AVG’s security program is perfectly respectable. But perfectly respectable just doesn’t cut it these days.
  • Avira Internet Security. This suite is competent at detecting, disabling, and cleaning up malware, but its user interface is unfriendly.

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