Avoiding Viruses Without Unplugging


Since my run-in with the Antivirus Live attack, I've been hyper-vigilant on virus and malware scans on my computer, especially any time my computer seems sluggish.


Getting hit with some kind of attack seems almost inevitable these days-unless you keep your computer unplugged and unconnected to the Internet. A PandaLab Malware Security Report showed that 2009 set records for malware creation, with 25 million new strains just last year. The report stated:


"The company now has a knowledge base of 40 million samples, receiving an average of 55,000 new examples every day."


In addition, the report said,


"PandaLabs has predicted that the amount of malware in circulation will continue to grow during 2010. Windows 7 will surely attract the interest of hackers when it comes to designing new malware, and attacks on Mac will increase. While we are likely to witness more politically motivated attacks the report concludes that, once again, this will not be the year of the cell phone virus."


And these attacks cost time to repair-can any business afford to have its computer system down for a day or more to eliminate malware?


Even so, blogger Erik Eckel believes it is possible to avoid viruses and malware. Some recommendations here are straightforward: Do daily scans and install both anti-virus and anti-spyware software. He also includes a few tips that are often overlooked. For example, Eckel advises disabling the autorun feature:


"Many viruses work by attaching themselves to a drive and automatically installing themselves on any other media connected to the system. As a result, connecting any network drives, external hard disks, or even thumb drives to a system can result in the automatic propagation of such threats."


I know it requires a few extra minutes in my day to do the additional virus checks (I normally do it over my lunch break), but it beats losing hours of work time or locking my computer in a dark closet.