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Up Virus Filenames

Protect Your Computer Against Viral Infections

Janice A. Deal

Recently, a colleague infected her computer by copying infected files from a clientís floppy disk. The virus corrupted most of her files, and, consequently, she lost a couple days of work and experienced a great deal of frustration getting her computer back to working order.

Today, viruses are not just transmitted by floppy disk; the biggest problems are in e-mail attachments and Internet downloads.

Viruses are a series of software commands concealed within a file that, at the least, do a little mischief and, at the worst, destroy all the data on your hard drive. To do their dirty deeds, these commands must be executed. For example, the infection process starts when you install that cute screen saver or game you download from the Internet or when you open a document or spreadsheet with an embedded macro virus.

What can freelance editors do to prevent this contamination?

ü         Purchase antivirus software that can detect and disinfect incoming viruses from different sources, especially the Internet, and that can be updated from the vendorís Web site.

ü         Configure the software to scan for viruses when copying any new files from floppy disks and from the Internet or e-mail attachments to your computer.

ü         TIP: Use a sticky dot to initial and date when a clientís or authorís disk was checked for viruses. Use a dot on your disk to the client or author to indicate your files are virus free.

ü         Update your antivirus software monthly from the vendorís Web site. When outbreaks occur, visit the site immediately.

ü         If your computer does become infected with a virus, switch off your machine and go for a walk. In a few minutes, you can more calmly approach the solution and recovery. Itís also a good idea to contact the people youíve shared information with and let them know that your system has been infected and that that their system may be infected also.

Here are a couple helpful Internet sites.

ü         For an Antivirus Software Guide, other articles, netlinks, and more, visit http://antivirus.about.com/computer/software/antivirus

ü         For a tutorial on How to Protect Against Computer Viruses, visit http://www.zdnet.com/zdhelp/stories/main/0.5594,2248291-1,00.html

Remember, always practice safe computing.

© 1999, IDeal Services/Data Masters