Minimizing the Threat
As a computer user on our campus you must help IT safeguard against viruses.
Taking regular backups of data on your system is the most important precaution you can take against data loss, whether that data loss is the result of hardware or software malfunction, or virus infection. It is important to ensure that you are able to restore data from these backups. Backing up is only half of the job. Verify that you can restore a file. Prove it to yourself by doing it. You should also ensure that you have clean copies of all your executable files on floppy, zip or Jaz media and these disks should be kept write-protected in a safe place.
You have a responsibility to make sure that ALL incoming software comes from reputable sources. It is a common, though mistaken, belief that shareware, free disks or games are the only source of viruses. But it is where you get the software which is important, not what kind of software it is.
Removable media (floppy, Zip, Jaz etc) is a common means by which viruses are spread. Judicious workstation management particularly in relation to the use of removable media, can help to minimize the risks of infection by boot sector viruses. You should:
- Cultivate the habit of write-protecting removable media wherever possible, to prevent virus infection.
- Remove disks from drives when PCs are switched off to prevent PCs from being inadvertently booted from media infected with a boot sector virus.
- If you accidentally boot from a diskette, power-off and re-start your PC, rather than continuing the boot process.
If your system supports it, change the CMOS setting of your PC, so it boots in the sequence C: then A: to prevent the PC from accidentally booting from a floppy disk. IT can assist you if you are unsure of what this entails.
Information Technology keeps vigil over selected network resource but users must help to prevent the infection of files stored on our campus network. Our network machines can be thought of as just another hard disk at the end of your computer's cable. It may be where your software is run from, or it may be where your data files are stored. IT periodically scans our network for viruses, but the network can quickly be re-infected if your workstation files remain infected.
Your mother insists that when there is sickness in the house, everybody must frequently wash their hands and warns that if you don't the whole family risks getting sick. So it is with computer viruses, too!