Alien Intruders!

You probably didn't casually invite, or extend a formal attendance request to, these undesirables known as viruses.

Regardless of your opinions, such cyber-nomads may call on you, complete and active, with their destructive payloads.

So what is a virus?

A virus is a program that can self replicate or reproduce itself. These programmable pirates have a special talent for attaching themselves to executable programmes. When such programmes are executed (often by you, but not always), so is the virus.

They don't necessarily have an ".exe" file extension and are relative masters of disguise. Extensions can be doubled-up to create an optical illusion or optically misleading appearance.

A boot sector virus is probably the worst in so far as it will upset the normal loading of your operating system and therefore, disable your computer. Pointers to your 0.S., can be overwritten, effectively, rendering it to be non-existant. That's never a good thing but not the end of the world, however it seems.

Following, is an example of how devilishly deceptive these vindictive vermon are, in their presentation

A friend of mine rang me last week in a distressed state, with news that her I.S.P. was threatening to shut down her e-mail account because her computer contained viruses affecting her outgoing mail This message seemed to come from her provider but in fact was created by a worm (type of virus). The e-mail was complete with the providers U.R.L., instructions to open its attachment (which it claimed that it contained a free virus cleaner) and even a password to access the attachment. This password could "swing" some cautious people to believe that the attachment was legitimate. Indeed there was only one mistake and it was that the e-mail in question was addressed to "Dear account holder" and not her specific e-mail address.

What is often helpful in determining legitimatacy, is to simply check the properties of the particular mail or e-letter. Where the "from" field can be set to display any name(as spammers demonstrate), more info. via the properties option, may help you to decide.

Attachments are potentially dangerous. You should train yourself to look for such things, and not exclusively this. If you have a suspicion, ignore them.

If it seems an awful lot more important than account closure warnings (family matters), then simply ring the addressee in question. Surely most other matters can wait until office opening hours in cases where 24-hour telephone support is not an option. Incidentally, the described worm is a BAGLE variant and is currently in circulation and though it can be cleaned, can also be disruptive.

Smallish text files can be copied and pasted into your e-mail client, eliminating an unnecessary attachment. Doing this will increase the chances of your friends recieving your mail as account providers can have automated software that block mail outside certain perameters, and often legitimate ones are blocked. The limitation when pasted directly into your client is file size.

Incidentally, free and other accounts, in a bid to obliterate spam, can make sucessful mail delivery a nightmare. An option is to put your info./file/picture on some free webspace and simply e-mail the link to it.

Another virus infects your macros( a program,within a program that is similar in delivery to predictive text), and is known as a macro virus and affects the usability of associated files, which are usually files produced using text editors or word processing programs. Saving such files in R.T.F. or rich text format where you have an otpion, is helpful. Turning your macros "off" could be considered, but their benefits are lost and the virus has won, even before entry.

These are harmless enough and there is no need to freak out. A free cleaning option is mentioned below.

If your great grandmother, untypically sends you software as an attachment, and typically sends you a woolen sweater, then alarm bells should sound.

Anyone who depends on their P.C. as a tool and not a toy, needless to say, should discourage forwarded jokes.These jokes can be time-consuming to read, can be colossal in number, are often habitually forwarded, and not really worth the threat. Believe me when I say that I'm opposite to a "killjoy" and mean this, for semi-serious users who rely on their respective and respected machines.

Consciously or unconsciously, forwarding is "viral", and a perfect vechicle to that end. While it is a very useful and functional tool, perhaps its' use could be limited to its' initial purpose. Human interaction can contribute to the propagation of "troublesome transients". There are other ways to communicate with your friends.

Of course, if you can afford it, you should get an anti-virus program. Corporations, companies and anyone without financial restraint have such programs updated continuously as no-one can predict when (in real time) that some virus creator will decide to unleash his newest version. Previous virus definitions are of little use in protecting against future viruses. Such definitions describe the nature (how and where infection occurs) and an engine is used to scan or locate and clean the infected files. Given the reproductive properties of viruses, the amount of such infected files can be enormous and sometimes they are files with particular extensions.

Regular domestic P.C. users should probably update their definitions weekly and there are anti -virus software manufacturers that will scan your machine for free (use your search engine) but it should be remembered that the virus could already be in your machine at this stage. The program that you pay for can block them at all entry points and is the nearest thing to protection.

Definitive protection requires you to connect to nothing, insert or install nothing, network with no one, and perhaps swabbing your machine with an industrial disinfectant. However, I would consider such measures to be excessive and no way to live your productive life.

Wishing you the best of luck for the future, and may your connection with these "malicious modem and medium migrants" be in the singular, as most of us learn more diligently (not faster), through experience.

About The Author

Seamus Dolly is the webmaster of http://www.CountControl.com His background is in engineering and analogue electronics. His studies include A+, Net+ and Server+; [email protected]

In The News:


.Net Charts and Graphs Interact with Businesses and Customers

Bar charts, bar graphs, and any other chart or graph... Read More

S is for Spying, Surveillance -- and for Software as Well

Words we choose to describe things and phenomena often show... Read More

Selecting Corporate ERP: Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains ? Estimation Parameters

As we could imagine, if you are reading this article... Read More

Microsoft Great Plains customization ? Freight Forwarding/Transportation industry example

Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains version 8.5, 8.0, 7.5, Great... Read More

Programming Language Migration Path

While I was preparing some personal background information for a... Read More

The Hidden Power of Online Manual

Writing software manuals is boring, isn't it? We often think:... Read More

Microsoft Great Plains: Offshore Customization & Development ? Overview for Consultant

When you visit department stores and see that majority of... Read More

Microsoft CRM Integration & Customization: SharePoint Document Gateway

MS CRM is very close to document workflow automation, including... Read More

Microsoft CRM Integration with Microsoft Retail Management System (RMS) ? Overview

Microsoft Client Relation Management system (Microsoft CRM) and Microsoft RMS... Read More

Microsoft Great Plains: exchange & brokerage ? implementation notes

If you company is small or mid-size special products or... Read More

40/sec to 500/sec

IntroductionSurprised, by the title? well, this is a tour of... Read More

Protect Your Computer...and Your Business!

We all take the computer for granted. I mean, all... Read More

ERP Consulting: Microsoft Great Plains Partner Future Directions

In the Clinton era the status quo was simple: you... Read More

Microsoft Great Plains Remote Support - Overview

Microsoft Great Plains is now standard mid-market ERP application, serving... Read More

Importance of Coding Standards

Programming Help for BeginnersWe write programs to instruct computers. When... Read More

Four Desktop Tools To Drastically Increase Your Productivity

Sticky Noteshttp://www.deprice.com/stickynote.htmWith StickyNote 9.0, you can create beautiful 3D notes... Read More

MicroWorld Releases New Version of MailScan Ver. 4.5 - Antivirus and Content Security Software

MicroWorld Technologies, Inc. the leading solutions provider in the area... Read More

Change Your Word Docs in Record Time!

Anyone who has ever used Microsoft Word knows that it... Read More

Separate Anti-Keylogging Protection: Who Needs it Most?

If there still are few unprotected computers left, I haven't... Read More

Resume Software ? Advantages Revealed

The various resume software offered, particularly on the internet, can... Read More

Mapping Software: Putting Data Visualization on the Map

Mapping Software Improves Data VisualizationFrom the outset, it is important... Read More

Microsoft and Webmasters

Does Microsoft care for WebmastersIt's always been a problem with... Read More

Reduce Pop-ups and Annoying Ads

There is many things more frustrating than surfing a website... Read More

Best Spyware Removers

Finding the best spyware removers to detect and remove spyware... Read More

Reduce TCO: The Java Database Way

TCO (Total Cost Ownership) is the buzzword in... Read More