I don't want to go into any real detail here. Suffice to say that viruses have
a number of purposes. They can be as harmless as popping a little text onto
your screen at a certain date/time to deleting (irrevocably) everything on your
harddrive. Most corrupt files. Doesn't sound too bad, until that Word file you've
been working on for weeks is no longer readable.
What can you do. Very simple:
- ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR FILES. Multiple copies in multiple places. This is key
- think fires. If a single fire can kill all your backups, move one somewhere!
- Have virus scanning software up and running at all times. However, this
is not perfect, after all, you cannot protect against viruses that haven't
been written. Thus, there is always a bit of a lag between virus introduction
and fixes. Newer virus software will autoupdate on a regular basis if you're
connected to the web. If running older software, make sure you install the
latest virus definitions. These can be downloaded from the software websites.
Do this at least once a month. More often if you read about the latest virus
hitting. A suggestion or two: I just use the stuff that comes with windows. Seems to work about as well as anything else. Avoid, at all costs, McAfee (buggy, huge, problems) and Kasparsky (info goes to Russia). I'd stay away from Norton as well, just because it's spendy.
- Don't download or install stuff from the web. Be very wary of executable
files - especially if they aren't from a reputable website. ie - loading a
software patch from Microsoft.com is pretty safe (theoretically), some file
from www.bobstuff.net - maybe not...
- ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR FILES.
Computer Security: some options
- Identification and access - stuff like passwords, swipe cards, fingerprints,
- Encryption - making your data unreadable.
- protecting software and data within an organisation: things like limited
access to files, limited access to computers, etc.
- disaster recovery plans! BACK UP YOUR FILES
10 tips for PC users
- password security - don't tell people your password - and don't have obvious
passwords. For example, the world's most common password is 'password'. Believe
it or not...
- social engineering: be wary of people. Some more than others.
- credit card security - again, be wary of who gets your credit card numbers
when doing transactions over the web. For those of you that worry about this,
remember that, for example, when using a credit card at a restaurant, the
waitress sees your number, as does anyone in the food chain that sees the
impression of your card. It's probably safer to conduct business over the
web - with reputable companies!
- terminate connections - don't leave the room while logged in. This gives
someone access to your account.
- anti-virus software. Absolutely required these days.
- physical security: Locked doors. As a lab example: don't leave the windows
or door open after hours. If they don't have a key, they shouldn't be there.
- backup. Again... BACKUP. You can't do this too often.
- ask about security. If in doubt, ask someone.