Virus Prevention

Question: How does one prevent a virus like Sasser in Outlook? I have a virus protection...and still got it. I used a Mac for 20 years...now this PC platform seems NOT as good, due to virus hassles. What antivirus do you recommend?

The IT Guy says:
No virus protection scheme can provide a 100% chance of protection, especially on the Windows platform. You are correct that Macintosh computers are less virus-prone; in fact, to date, the new Macintosh OS X has not had any virus problems. This is mostly due to the fact that Windows is much more widely used, and most of the bored 13 year olds who want to wreak global Email havoc seem to (reasonably) select Windows as their target platform.

I personally recommend using Symantec Antivirus (www.symantec.com), but other alternatives can be comparably effective. At present, however, a client-based virus protection solution is not sufficient to keep virus problems at arm’s length, especially for Windows-users. Depending on the mail server used by your school district or educational organization, different server-based Email virus filters are now available which can block virus infected Email at the server level, or, at a minimum, strip the malicious file attachments from the Email.

Another good idea is to use a LINUX server as a mail relay, especially when using MS Exchange Server. This permits the Exchange server to physically reside within the district’s firewall, and further protect it from external attack. This suggestion and others are detailed in my September 2003 article for Technology and Learning, “A Beginner’s Guide to School Security†(http://www.techlearning.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=14700427).

Whatever the configuration of your organizational mail server, make sure your antivirus software is set to download regular virus definition updates from the web, and regularly scan your computer for viruses. With the proliferation of virus threats, daily updates and scans are a good idea.

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