It is important to be equipped with the right tools with which to implement an effective anti-virus strategy. Your strategy should first be based on the prevention of virus infection, and secondly to swiftly and effectively eradicate it at the earliest possible detection. You should consider the following when selecting which tools to use and your strategy:
- PCs should be protected with a virus scanning product such as Norton Command Antivirus (F-Prot) or other commercially available products known to be safe and effective. Most of these scanner programs can be configured to run in the background, and you will be given a pop-up warning alerting you to the presence of a virus.
- Virus protection software should be fully-configurable to enable greater or lesser security and automatic disinfection.
- You should regularly scan the network drives on which you store programs and files, in particular your Home and Data folders on the network. Be certain to store only files you know to be clean and virus free.
The use of e-mail systems and the threat from e-mail attachments (mainly macro virus infected Word and Excel documents) means that a virus can spread very quickly throughout our campus. Risk can be minimized by scanning e-mail and e-mail attachments as they are retrieved. Many virus scanners offer this feature. If e-mail is checked in this way it reduces the risk of a virus reaching your machine and causing problems.
If the worst happens, and a virus does get through to your system anyway, it is important that you are able to recover from the infection. The following should be considered as essential to the cleanup process.
Boot clean: Remember that most viruses are memory resident programs. Before attempting to remove these viruses it is essential to clear memory. Re-boot the machine and it is not enough to just log off and then back on. You must shut down, physically power off the switch, and start up again. Booting clean is essential, but it is not as straightforward as it may appear.
Make sure you have original copies of your applications: If your executable files cannot be disinfected because a virus has damaged the original programs, you will need to delete any infected files and replace them with the original good copies.
A backup of the data on your system: If a virus has damaged any of your data, you will need to restore the data from a backup. Make sure you have a good backup before you need one! The single most important thing that you can do is to make sure that you make regular backups of your critical files to removable media as part of your normal day to day operation. Get a Zip drive, a Jaz drive or use a floppy and DO IT REGULARLY.