The malignant versions of viruses write false values in the boot sector, delete files and corrupt resources on
your system. Networks have given virus writers the opportunity to unleash their destructive creativity on multiple computers using
the mutated worms.
Today, most of us store data in the computer. Losing the data on a
single hard disk to a virus could be worse than having your home library go up in flames. Why run the risk of infecting your system
when all you need to do is inoculate yourself with an eight-point prevention and containment programme? It will not guarantee
complete immunity of course, but you will certainly be able to minimise the effect of most viral attacks.
- Choose carefully the anti-virus software you plan to install. A good one costs about
Rs. 2,200 for the first year. You could try out the full-feature free evaluation software at some internet sites but if you plan to
download it regularly without paying, keep the net usage costs of frequent downloads in mind.
- The software you choose should be one that comes with regular updates that recognise
new virus signatures. It should also be as autonomous as possible. These features will ensure that even if you forget to enable a
particular option, the software still does its bit to protect your system. Make sure the `on access` scanner (already included in
most good anti-virus software packages) is installed and configured to start automatically each time you boot your
- Write-protect all system and software diskettes using the
write-protect tab. This way you will be able to segregate data and programme files and the virus will not be transmitted to
critical system and programme disks.
- Ask your friends to mail you
text files without attachments. Accept attachments only when necessary. That way you can avoid picking up a virus.
- Worms are more dangerous than the viruses (which try to infect as many files as
possible in the same computer) because they use the ubiquitous e-mail and internet to corrupt multiple computers. The viruses that
spread through diskettes are much easier to contain. All you have to do is make sure the floppies are sterile and a simple
anti-virus check before using them can ensure control over viruses.
- Get in the habit of taking regular backups of important files. If you already have a CD writer installed you
can save the data on CDs. Otherwise the backups can be on floppies: If there is a lot of data, then do it on the zip floppies which
have a memory of 100/200 MB. But then you also need a zip drive.
- Don`t accept files during chats. This is one of the common ways viruses get transmitted.
- If you use Outlook Express or a non-Web based e-mail at home, it may be a good idea
to use another e-mail service as back up in case your home PC crashes. That way important messages received on that address will be
- Use a special e-mail account with minimal personal
details to register on Internet sites since the directories of Internet sites can be hacked.