Another Point of View
Penned by Curtis Seyfried
I moderate a number of YahooGroups and Topica lists for community activists in the non-profit sector. One problem I have seen repeatedly is that the average PC user does not comprehend a number of issues:
The USERS responsibility as a participant in a Global Communications Network ( The InterNet ) to prevent themselves from spreading viruses. This is either through a virus sending to everyone in their address book, or through the user sending infected e-mails and attachments to other users, BUT, more importantly to Listserv's.
Their need to own, and use Current Anti-Virus Software, AND, to at least weekly, update their Virus Definition list.
The potential harm that can be done by unprotected users, to other unprotected users machines; and, the extra work it produces for responsible users who do protect themselves, and to listowners.
I have had to remove users from lists because after repetitive warnings they refused to take appropriate action and repetitively sent viruses to the list and to individual list members through their-mail address being in the mail they sent to the list.
Personally, I am not worried about infection. I use Symantec Norton Anti-Virus 2003 and run 2 Firewalls - Tiny Firewall and ZoneAlarm Pro. I also use all security precautions in MS Outlook and IE, and download and install every security patch when issued. But it is still nerve racking every time I receive an e-mail and get a virus, Trojan Horse or worm alert.
If every user used the AV software that comes FREE with most brand name PC's, AND updated their virus def. list, it is FREE for the 1st year, and can be automated very easily, there would, in my pinion, be a significant decrease in the spread of viruses during a release and attack. It's really so Simple today, and so cheap, my virus def. list yearly renewal costs $19.00 PER year ! I usually do not renew because I frequently upgrade my software to obtain higher protection levels and new functionality, and then just use the subscription that comes with the software.
Recently, I have been reading articles that reference using 2 AV software's that utilize different routines. I do not know if I will go this route. I know it is a hassle to initially setup AV and Firewall software, to give permissions to and create rules of access by all of your communications software. But, once its done, its done, and its pretty much automatic. I have probably 50 programs that one way or another access the Internet, even if its only to check for a product upgrade automatically. I periodically go through my Firewalls and remove old rules for software I no longer have.
BUT, I have a $2,000 PC, with over $2,000 worth of applications software, and over 100,000 data files when I include WP documents, spreadsheets, databases, e-mail, HTML News articles, Java, Perl, Python, PHP and other scripts. The information contained data alone is probably worth to me as a researcher $40 - $60,000 if not much more. Of course I have backups of everything, but do you know how long it takes to re-format a 40 gig. HD, reinstall all of the software and data, if something serious happens - 1 - 2 DAYS !
I wish I could educate as many users as possible with the above information, because viruses today no longer play "Jokes" or cause inconvenience, there are viruses that can destroy hardware as well as software and data.