Protect Your PC
|Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.|
|By: Doug Carner|
|Posted on: 10/01/2001|
Protect Your PC
By Doug Carner
It seems as though we read about a new "killer" computer virus nearly every month. Each threat stirs a new wave of virus-protection software updates. While anti-virus programs are quick to react, they are often merely the cure to the illness your computer suffers, not a preventive measure. On some computers, anti-virus software can keep your business programs from operating correctly--especially those with automatic serial-port communications, such as self-storage software that processes overnight gate access or rent collections by credit card.
For the virus writers, it is a game of cat and mouse with your valuable computer files caught in the precarious balance. There are some amazingly simple steps you can take that will prevent most viruses from ever entering your computer. In this case, more than ever, an once of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But first, it would be helpful to understand how a computer virus works.
Every known virus is a set of instructions designed to carry out a malicious task on a specific date or event. Some viruses pass script commands to naive sections of the Windows operating system. The default Windows settings permit script viruses to penetrate deep into your computer while you innocently read an infected e-mail. Other viruses are completely self-contained programs that rely solely on their internal components. These viruses mask as harmless e-mail attachments that beg for you to double-click and install.
This is part one of a two-part series on PC safety. You can execute a few simple steps to safeguard your precious business files. You will instantly be vaccinated against all known script viruses and have reasonable protection from most program viruses. These tips are applicable to Windows 98 operating systems. Not all of these steps will be available in other versions of Windows.
Give yourself immediate protection against the most common script viruses, such the infamous Melissa virus that took the nation by storm in March 1999. Melissa was a macro virus for Microsoft Word 97 and 2000 that used Microsoft Outlook to send itself to lots of people very quickly without detection. The virus spread like wildfire in company e-mail systems and across the Internet, causing havoc in places such as the home offices of Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp., among many others. Here are some steps to protect your system from similar viruses:
You can also add a barrier of protection by requiring a password before any outside program can access your files. Here's how:
Repeat the above steps for each hard drive you want to protect.
Do you work on a network of computers that need to share each other's files? If not, why give the Internet world the right to share your computer files?
Here's how to stop unauthorized Macros (embedded scripts) from running when you load a document:
In next month's column, I will continue with part two of "Protect Your PC" and offer steps toward protecting your computer against the deadliest of viruses and communicating via the Internet.
Doug Carner is the vice president of marketing for QuikStor Security & Software, a Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based company specializing in security, software and management for the self-storage industry. For more information, call 800.321.1987; e-mail email@example.com; visit www.quikstor.com.