Viri-The Truth about Bugs

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Any of you who have read any of my blogs know that I have a thing for “the truth.”

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We live in a society today that regards the truth as an inconvenience.  So here is the truth about anti-virus software from someone’s perspective that fought the very first virus in 1981, without the benefit of anti-virus software, on a 300 node network.

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I cannot personally get into the mind of someone who creates these things.  One wonders why someone would spend the time to create a piece of software that literally is destructive in nature, when the person who created it cannot watch the affected person anguish over his or her brand new PC running at the pace of a snail.

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Normally, (I say normally like I know,) but it is my opinion that when someone does something malevolent, they want to witness the carnage; much like the people who killed and maimed so many in Boston.  They hung around to watch the chaos, carnage and all of the injured people and then took some sort of “delight” in their handy work as expressed by their smirk.

When I think of someone who might create viruses, I picture some fat, anti-social kid with pimples, sitting around in his mother’s basement, in his underwear, trying to figure out some way to “show-em” that he is important, by creating a virus. I think that it is more than that however. While I do think that stereotype might fit some of them, I believe that it goes much deeper than that. (Don’t bully the nerds.. They are people too.)

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Since a million or so viruses are written each year, you know that there must be millions of programmers writing them, or at least hundreds of thousands.  Some claim that it is the Russian mafia.  I was not aware that Russia had a mafia but I guess if we have one, so should they…

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There is a practical use for viruses in that they have something called key loggers, that in fact will copy your keystrokes and when certain key words or phrases are caught, the passwords to you bank account and or credit card information are sent off to someone who compiles a list of such numbers, and sells them to the highest bidder.

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Some viruses are written in such a way as to replicate when you try to delete them.  Just when you think you have your system cleaned, the virus pops up again and does its thing.

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Others are time bombs, sitting harmlessly on your machine waiting either for an event or date to activate.

There are far too many to write about but, you get the idea.  The only way to be 100% protected from an infection is to never hook your machine to the internet and never put any software on it.  Sounds impractical doesn’t it, well, it is!

There are many different anti-virus software packages out there, some cost big dollars, and some amazingly are free!

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I plan on looking at this one soon…

First Truth -With anti-virus software, you usually get what you pay for, and if it is free, it is not worth what you paid for it!

While I will admit that free is better than nothing, it is only slightly better.

While no antivirus software is sacrosanct, some are much better than others.  The trick is to find one that not only is layered in such a way to handle your basic anti-virus functions but, also takes care of your e-mail; as the largest percentage of infestations come in through e-mail; unless of course you are big into porn.

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Ok, that was a challenge to find something that I could post..

Yes I know that the internet was made for porn…not really, but that is most probably the reason that the internet took off as it did. Porn is in fact a huge business with lots and lots of dollars spent on it… Another blog for another day.

I have removed viruses from computers that had each of the popular anti-virus software on them.  That tells me that there is no silver bullet.  How could there be as there are millions of viruses out there are more are created each and every day!

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Currently, I am sold on Eset-Node32  www.eset.com  Do I still see infected computers that have this, yes, but not near as many as some of the others.

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The bottom line here is this; don’t skimp on anti-virus software.  If you purchase it, and support the company, and others do as well, than they can afford to keep folks busy searching for new viruses and devising ways to defeat them, as well as improving the product.

Full disclosure, I have no vested interest in ESET.  My opinions are my own and are derived from years and years of removing viruses.  Tomorrow you may ask me which is the best and I may like Trend or Norton… Today and for the last few years it has been ESET.  I often evaluate other brands, as I need to know for myself, so I can feel confident promoting one over the other.

Second Truth- When evaluating software, look for something that has a light footprint.

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What do I mean by that?  One of the reasons I dumped a trusted anti-virus package is that its footprint was so huge, that I could not use my PC.  It actually was worse than having a virus, as the utilization was high and the memory it took to run was astounding! While the pc was kind of protected, it was unusable.

PC magazines and consumer reports are good places to look.  I like to talk with the “nerds” at the computer store as they see even more of this than I do.  By the way, when I say nerd, I say that with utmost appreciation for them, as I are one albeit and old one, or “seasoned.”

I actually have a favorite virus if you can believe that.  Back in the early 80’s someone wrote the “pong” virus modeled after the video game “pong.”   How this would work is you would be in WordPerfect just typing away on that miserable blue screen and all of the sudden out of nowhere a “pong ball” would appear.  It would start traversing your 13 inch CGA monitor and as it came in contact with one of your characters in your document, the letter, would tumble down to the bottom of the screen.  I give them an A for creativity but, as clever as it was, it still destroyed the document as it was un-recoverable.

 

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Could not find a picture of the pong virus so … I like Homer..

 

Once we networked the PC’s even in the world of DOS, the virus found a home in that once in, it had access to hundreds of computers and servers.  When Al Gore invented the internet, (can’t let that crap rest,) now we can infect millions of PC’s; world wide!

Be sensible where you go, don’t open attachments that you are not expecting, get a good anti-virus software and scan your machine every so often.  There are many good tools on the market to help as well and that too is another blog for another day.

If your experience is different from mine or you have some experience to share… Comment!

-Best to you and those that you care about!

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