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Thoughts on the latest virus threat, and the fact that some people will still get infected.

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It's happening again. The press is full of warnings about some new virus that has presumably already infected hundreds of thousands of machines, and that is set to cause massive havoc on February 3rd (and the 3rd of every month thereafter) by erasing certain types of files from those machines.

Referred to by many names, the "Kama Sutra" worm masquerades, as usual, as an email attachment with promises of porn of some sort.

The good news is, of course, that the anti-virus companies are prepared, and most all of the reasonable anti-virus software packages, if kept up to date, will simply eradicate this pest as yet another virus. Life goes on.

So why all the hoopla?

There are two assumptions in that good news. Two invalid assumptions:

First, that everyone actually is running anti-virus software of some sort. The fact is that many machines are still unprotected. It's getting better, but I still get questions on a daily basis where the answer boils down to "you should've been running anti-virus software".

Second, and more troubling, is the phrase "if kept up to date". There are many people out there that don't realize that simply installing and running an anti-virus solution may not be enough. Or, perhaps even more common, after running with their one year free update subscription that came with their machine, they simply let it lapse without re-subscribing or installing an alternate solution.

The scary part about each new virus is not that is exists, nor that it can cause damage - we should pretty much expect that by now. The scary part is that even with the history of virus threats, the news surrounding some of the more sensational ones, and the vast array of tools both free and commercial at our disposal ... people still get infected.

In this latest case those people stand a good chance of losing valuable data.

If they're not running up to date anti-virus software, what are the chances, do you think, that they happened to back up their data?

What I know is that on February 4th, many will start.

I'd love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.info, and enter 9759 in the go to article number box. Leave a comment, I read them all.

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Article C2539 - February 1, 2006 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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2 Comments
Samuel Cooper
February 2, 2006 6:27 AM

Hey, I would just like to say what a wonderful article, I really enjoy your work Leo, keep it up!!!! :D

Your pieces inspire me to write aswell, infact, I might just have to write a biography about you, it can be called a Leography. Get it? :D AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

I enjoy your articles so much Leo that I did a school report on you in english. You help us all out with our problems friend! Keep it up!

H. Kallen
February 5, 2006 8:37 AM

Grisoft offers great, FREE antivirus software for personal use, with FREE daily updates! Tens or even hundreds of thousands of home users run this and it really works great! You will not go wrong to download and install AVG.:
http://free.grisoft.com/doc/2/

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Kallen Web Design - Small Business Web Design
Available for whole sites or small updates!
http://www.kallenweb.com

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