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Technical support article
Virus Alerts and Updates
It seems that there may never be an end to computer viruses and worms, so you
really do want to be running good anti-virus software with a recent update. These are days of rapidly spreading computer viruses and worms. There's no reason for panic, but please take the warning seriously. This is not a drill. In recent days the volume and frequency of virus and worm attacks has been increasing. These malicious programs can not only destroy your data and make your computer useless but, even worse, put you in the position of spreading trouble to your friends and other correspondents.
Unless your computer is completely isolated from the rest of the world, you need effective anti-virus protection. You can give yourself some protection by never, ever, opening an unknown file. With today's complex systems, though, that can be hard unless you are a rather highly skilled user. It's all too easy to open a virus or worm without even thinking. Sitting there ignoring the virus problem may have worked for you in the past, but don't count on it in the future.
Viruses can get on your machine several different ways. You can get a virus through:
- Using some chat applications such as mIRC, ICQ, MSN Messenger
- Inserting a Diskette or CD-ROM infected by a virus
- Opening a web page with a script to download a virus
- Downloading files from the Internet (ie pictures, games, etc)
- Opening an E-mail attachment with a virus.
Quad-Cities OnlineŽ has a basic filter placed on our server to help prevent the spreading of viruses with common subjects and common senders. To find out more about this filter, visit our
Virus Filter Information page.
Since most people already have anti-virus software, let's talk updates first. If you have a recent update you may still be unprotected. Even updates just four days old would not be good enough and that will probably get even worse. Update now. Many anti-virus programs allow you to do an automatic update, at least for a while. If you don't know where to find updates you are almost certainly in potential big trouble, sitting there with an obsolete set of virus signatures.
Once you have an update, make sure your program is really running. Most of those installed are working just fine, but don't count on it. If you are unsure, contact your vendor's support system. If you don't have anti-virus installed, now is the time to do it. Don't comfort yourself with the idea you have never had a virus or worm problem. Everyone hit for the first time is in that position. Though you can recover from most attacks, it's not a walk in the park.
Based on its reviews and personal experience, our online columnist George Cottay recommends
Norton Anti-Virus from Symantec. It's widely available, works well, automated updates are available and manual
updates are free and easy to handle. Norton is also one of the few
products found by the Virus
Bulletin to stop 100% of known viruses. If you would rather not use Norton, you might consider one of the other Virus Bulletin 100% Products. These are: Associates Vet Anti-Virus v10.1.0, Command Software AntiVirus v4.57, Dialogue Science DrWeb 32 v4.12a, ESET NOD32 v1.24, GeCAD RAV v7.0, Kaspersky Lab AVP v3.0.131, and Norman Virus Control v4.72. Other products may also be satisfactory.
Although there are new viruses appearing, the most frequently mentioned examples often do not exist. They are hoaxes, rumors
started for fun and perpetuated by the concerned and innocent. If you hear of a new virus, check it out before getting worried. Many resources are available for that, including lists by Symantec,
the Computer Incident Advisory Capability, and McAfee. Please check out rumors before you pass them on. After hearing once too often about a wolf that does not exist, people get in the habit of ignoring warnings.
With new virus and worms both new and old spreading rapidly, always remember to take precautions. Please do not ask our customer service people for help on ant-virus. They don't have the needed expertise to help you. Contact your software provider instead.
Links to Anti-Virus Program Updates:
If your anti-virus software is not listed here you should be able to find an update for it at its web site (consult your program's documentation).