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VIRUSES, WORMS, TROJAN HORSES

These terms refer to malicious programs that infect computers. Once infected, a computer can be commandeered by a hacker and made to do his or her bidding. A hacker may steal personal data and erase your hard drive. Or the hacker may use your hard drive to store pirated movie files or launch an attack on other computers using your infected PC.

Most commonly, desktop computers become infected by email attachments. Opening or executing the attachments results in infection. Filters on our servers detect and stop more than 99.9% of email viruses before they reached your PC. Hackers use other methods to corrupt your PC. A Web site may entice you to download a file supposedly containing a useful program. Or you may FTP a virus-infected file from a server. Executing this file infects your PC.  For this reason, it is imperative to run virus-scanning software on your PC. Regularly scanning for infected files will detect and quarantine the common worms and Trojan horses that may reside on your computer.

These defensive measures are necessary but they're not sufficient. You PC may be inviting hackers to load malicious files by exploit hidden security holes in your operating system and applications.  Security patches are released monthly for Windows NT workstations. Microsoft's FrontPage Web publishing software can turn your PC into a poorly secured Web server that lets hackers implant Trojan horse software in your computer.A firewall can block many kinds of attacks directed at a poorly secured PC but it cannot stop them all. Ultimately, PC security depends on personal vigilance. This is what you need to do:

  1. Install virus protection software on your PC.
  2. Scan your PC’s hard drives and floppies for viruses weekly. This generally takes 20 minutes or less. SOM IS can configure your PC to make this happen automatically.
  3. Make certain virus software definition files are updated at least once each week. SOM IS can configure your PC to make this happen automatically.
  4. Disable unnecessary ports and services on your PC. SOM IS can assist in identifying and closing them.