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How You Can Help Stop Internet Virus Attacks

Jun 17, 2008
These days, most computer users realize they need to be using antivirus software. The trouble is, there is a lot of equipment providing services to these users on the internet. What is being done to protect them from virus infections?

Viruses can attack servers that run websites, email and other internet functions. They're not limited to desktop PC's.

Many of these servers are really not that different from a desktop PC. They may have more memory, multiple processors and larger hard drives, but they're still more or less the same type of equipment when you get right down to it.

Because of that fact, they're often vulnerable to the same viruses and other internet security threats that the average desktop system is. They also need to run antivirus software, firewalls and other forms of protection.

What else can be done?

These servers can be servicing thousands of users at the same time in some cases so they're a popular target for the virus writers. As a user on these systems, you can help keep them virus-free by making sure your own computer is. And their system administrators can help by limiting what kinds of programs get installed on them.

By keeping your computer protected by antivirus, firewall and other internet security software you help to minimize the target area for the attacks to hit. It can also help to keep your browser and operating system updated with the latest patches, and possibly even run an alternative browser such as Firefox instead of Internet Explorer.

You should also avoid booting from CD's, DVD's or USB memory sticks that haven't been scanned for viruses. If one of the files that was saved on the disk was infected, booting with the disk can cause the virus to spread even faster.

FTP servers, used to store and provide sending and receiving of files over networks, should become a thing of the past. Vanilla ftp (File Transfer Protocol) can't be secured since passwords are passed in clear text (unencrypted) over the network where they can be picked up by sniffers. Sniffers are software and/or hardware used to spy on networks. Secure FTP versions should be used instead.

Users should take an active role in encouraging administrators to lock down systems. Most admins do a very good job with limited time and resources, but security is usually well down their list of priorities. Users who show an interest can alter that in a constructive way by showing that they care. Very few servers have a thorough check by a skilled security expert at any time in their serviceable lifetimes. That would change if users didn't passively assume by default that everything is fine until things go sour.
About the Author
Is your computer as secure as it should be? Find out what you should be doing to keep it safe from spyware, viruses and other online security threats at the Online Security Toolkit website. Visit http://www.onlinesecuritytoolkit.com for more tips & info.
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