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Henry County Web
FYI Journal

Almost Safe Downloading and Anti-Virus Tips
(updated 11/27/09)

DOS

  • DO buy, install, frequently update, and USE regularly an anti-virus program
  • DO set your preferences (AOL users especially) to NOT automatically download attached files.
  • DO set your preferences (AOL users) to NOT automatically download attached files in "FLASHSESSIONS".
  • DO set your preferences (AOL users especially) to NOT automatically UNZIP (decompress) ZIP files on sign off.
  • DO be suspicious of attached files in email from both known and unknown screen names.
  • DO be suspicious of attached files that are "FREE" software...or something else that is desirable. This is the modus operandi--the very definition of a Trojan Horse. (Beware of GEEKS bearing gifts.)
  • DO email a known sender and confirm their sending of a file (See DON'Ts below.)
  • DO download to removable media when possible.
  • DO make FREQUENT, REGULAR back-ups of data files to removable media.
  • DO subscribe to a "recognized" anti-virus newsletter--there are many, but try to keep up with at least one.

DON'TS

  • DON'T download executable files--files that end with .EXE, .COM, .BAT, or compressed files such as .ZIP. (THIS INCLUDES NEWSGROUPS!) Also be careful with .DOC, .XLS, .PDF, .TXT and .JPG files. Also be aware that .SCR and .PIF files are typically infected.  You have to be mindful or media files, as well. Hackers have found ways to sabotage these files too.  Make sure you keep your Adobe Reader up-to-date, and your other programs security patch files.  When it comes down to it, "the evil ones" have invented clever ways and means to get at you through a good variety of file types.  So don't surf without a REAL-TIME scanner.
  • DON'T forget that files can be renamed, for example, danger.DOC could be renamed danger.TXT. Danger.txt IF really a text file is not executable and not dangerous, but Danger.DOC could have a macro virus. A .DOC file renamed to a .TXT file will still open as a DOC file and may infect your computer.
  • DON'T "run" (double click) executable files, even from known sources before scanning with an anti-virus program.
  • DON'T let someone else engage in risky practices on your computer. Educate yourself and other users.
  • DON'T byte your fingernails (sorry...it was time for a little comic relief.)
  • DON'T forget to update and run your anti-virus...set the provided scheduler if you are afraid you might forget.
  • DON'T presume you are "inoculated and invincible" -- you're not. For every virus detected there are hundreds that are undetected, for every safety precaution there is a "hack" trying to slip by.

This doesn't cover it all, but it covers a great deal.

"UH-OH", SWEAT, CUSS

You've got a sinking feeling that you MIGHT have a problem. DON'T PANIC! Stay calm.  Use these DOS and DON'TS as a guideline.

DOS

  • DO recognize that the problem may not be a virus, so stay calm.
  • DO observe and note behavior, such as a flashing screen, beeps, audio, peculiar email, multiple requests for passwords...anything out of the ordinary.
  • DO try and recall the source, subject line and file name of any suspicious file. If you can, look in your read email and download log to verify this information, if you can't do it readily, don't persist, just do the best you can.
  • DO call your Internet Service Provider and change your screen name/password. (Don't report a virus until you fairly certain. IF/When you are certain, let them know in case someone has used your account for unlawful purposes, etc. Changing your screen name won't hurt.) You may even be able to sign on from a known "clean/uninfected" computer and change the password yourself.
  • DO run your virus scanner...especially if you forgot in the first place. You may get lucky and at least identify the virus even if it got by you.
  • DO disconnect your modem at the connector--wall, rear of the computer, etc.

DON'TS

  • DON'T PANIC...panic only compounds the problem.
  • DON'T "close the barn door" after the horses are out. DON'T start deleting suspect files. There are renamed files, hidden files, protected files, disguised files, rewritten files--you are not going to cure the problem by deleting the known file(s)...if it was that easy, who would need anti-virus software.  The more prevalent viruses come with a "reloader" anyway, so without locating the real source, the virus will just re-install itself.
  • DON'T shut down the computer and re-boot, if you can avoid it. Some viruses infiltrate the boot sector and some spread further every time you reboot.
  • DON'T put ANY removable media into the drives AND if there was a diskette/re-writable in the drive and you are the least bit suspicious...consider it "dirty trash."
  • DON'T try to save/copy data files AFTER you are infected, you'll most likely be saving the virus right along with the data files.
  • DON'T continue to use the computer, except to possibly seek help from your AV support line.  Sophisticated FAKE AVs will block you from contacting your genuine Anti-Virus company.
  • DON'T open any programs/applications. Every time you open a program you are potentially exposing it to the virus.
  • DON'T email anyone. DON'T Instant Message anyone. Use the phone or a non-infected computer.
  • DON'T think you can "isolate" the problem by "defragging"--that's not what defragmenting does.
  • DON'T think that you can use the DEBUG command. That's not what DEBUGGING does.
  • DON'T REFORMAT your hard drive unless it's a last resort. Some viruses can be removed manually, some can be removed with software. There is no reason to reformat until you have no options left, you've tried as many sources as you can possibly stand, a qualified technician has told you to do so, you've just backed up all you important data files to a removable media and don't care what you might lose, OR you're a masochist and just LOVE to spend hours re-formating and re-installing software.

If the room is spinning and your eyes are popping, I apologize for being so long winded.
IF you need more information than I've provided above you need to visit Anti-virus sites on the Internet!

GOOD ADVICE FOR TRAVELERS:  IF you tote your Laptop/NetBook with you to locations to use free wireless, and you log in from your hotel room for example.  Should you be entering any passwords to access email, etc., Please change your passwords immediately on returning home.  If the guy in the room next door has compromised your computer, he'll have the password and can do a great deal of harm.

Try these for starters:

http://www.symantec.com
http://www.f-secure.com
http://www.mcafee.com

And my favorite:  TrendMicro

*mailer daemon--an automated email generated by a server when there is a problem with an email delivery. Usually it will indicate the sender, original message, intended recipient and reason for non-delivery. Though a mailer-daemon may have been generated and sent to you stating that the email you sent couldn't be delivered, OFTEN, it has been delivered.

*dropper virus--an embedded/hidden virus "dropped" according to schedule or "event/action" to activate the virus such as Michaelangelo

Trojan Horse--a program designed to steal your password(s) and log on information and send it to another party.

Data files--not part of an application, but information you have entered/keyed in used by a program/application--for example, a .txt or .gif file

Removable media--diskette/"floppy", zip disk, writable CD

WEB HOSTING!

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Copyright 1997-2015 Joyce K. Meyer. All Rights Reserved
This site was created by Joyce K. Meyer, on October 26, 1997.
Last revised on 03/31/15.