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TCS Special Program Virus, and How to Avoid Them. Fine Print. My views, not necessarily those of the Tulsa Computer Society Apologies to Symantec / Norton Anti-virus Concepts here are basic, given time constraints (but it is simple until you get infected)

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Presentation Transcript
fine print
Fine Print
  • My views, not necessarily those of the Tulsa Computer Society
  • Apologies to Symantec / Norton Anti-virus
  • Concepts here are basic, given time constraints (but it is simple until you get infected)
  • There are always exceptions and nuances to the issues discussed
what are the basics
What are the Basics?
  • Practice Safe Computing
  • Install an Anti-Virus (AV) program and keep it up-to-date
  • Inform yourself with the facts, taken with a grain of salt
what is a computer virus
What Is a Computer Virus?
  • A computer virus is a program that infects an executable file (such as a program, start-up record, or macro) and replicates, infecting neighboring files without the knowledge of the PC user
Most viruses are relatively harmless
  • Some may cause random damage to data files and program files
  • Some are intended to destroy files
  • All viruses use resources by using disk space, memory, CPU processing time, and the time and expense in detecting and removing them
what is a trojan horse
What Is a Trojan Horse?
  • A Trojan horse, like a virus, may damage computer files
  • It is usually a single program, that like the old Greek trick, does something that the user does not expect
  • A Trojan horse does not replicate like a virus does
what is a dropper
What Is a Dropper?
  • A dropper is a program which installs a virus or Trojan Horse, often covertly
what is a worm
What Is a Worm?
  • A worm is a rogue program which spreads (usually) over network connections
  • It is not to be confused with a WORM CD drive, an acronym for Write Once, Read Many (times)
  • Worms are uncommon and are most often programming errors
what do viruses do
What Do Viruses Do?

Like a biological virus, computer viruses infect:

  • Other executable program files
  • Data files containing macros, especially Word and Excel macros
  • Operating system program files
  • Special disk program files called boot records and master boot records that your computer uses to start up
what do viruses do1
What Do Viruses Do?
  • Infect an executable file that is attached to an e-mail message
  • Destroy files or simply replicate or display messages such as “this computer is stoned”
what do viruses not do
What Do Viruses Not Do?
  • Cause hardware damage (usually)

A computer can get a virus by running an infected executable file, usually from a floppy disk, E-mail attachment or downloaded from the Internet

risky business

Risky Business

(Behavior that may infect your computer)

high risk profile
High Risk Profile
  • Network connection without professional administrator
  • Internet connection
  • No anti-virus software running
  • High modem use
  • Many downloaded programs from local BBSs or unknown internet pages
high risk profile1
High Risk Profile
  • Distribute and receive files, especially on floppy disks
  • Use pirated software
  • Collect bargain software from unknown sources
high risk profile2
High Risk Profile
  • Trade computer games
  • Let other people use your computer or use computer lab equipment
  • Use recycled floppy disks of unknown origin or floppies someone else has formatted
medium use profile
Medium Use Profile
  • Network connection
  • Some downloaded programs from local bulletin boards or unknown internet pages
  • Use recycled floppy disks of unknown origin or floppies someone else has formatted
  • Use shared network programs
medium use profile1
Medium Use Profile
  • Share files on floppy disks
  • Buy bargain or “swap meet” software
low risk profile
Low Risk Profile
  • No network connection
  • Modem use for e-mail with few or no downloaded programs or downloads from commercial web pages and bulletin boards
  • Use just a few applications regularly
very low risk profile
Very Low Risk Profile
  • Single-user PC
  • No network connection
  • No modem
  • Only use shrink-wrapped software from reputable dealers
  • Scan all floppy disks before first use
  • Doesn’t receive files on floppy disks
There is no way to guarantee that you will avoid infection. However, the potential damage can be minimized by taking the following precautions:
make a clean boot disk
Make a Clean Boot Disk
  • Make a boot disk
  • Add essential program files to it
  • Scan it with AV software
  • Write-protect it
  • If you suspect an infection, boot from it then run AV software
use anti virus software
Use Anti-Virus Software
  • Use reputable, up-to-date and properly-installed AV software
  • Update AV software virus definitions regularly
  • Scan floppies and HDD with AV software regularly
  • Scan programs before installation
anti virus software programs



Dr. Web

F ‑Prot

McAfee and Dr. Solomon's (both owned by Network Associates)

Norton (Symantec)

Sophos sweep


Virus ALERT!




Anti-Virus Software Programs
do some reading
Do Some Reading
  • If you're a home user, you may well get an infection sooner or later. If you're a business user, it will be sooner. Either way you'll benefit from a little background reading.
what to read
What to Read
  • Computer Magazines
    • PC World, Ziff Davis, WinMag, etc.
  • AV Documentation
    • If you use a shareware/freeware AV package, print a hard copy of the documentation before you get an infection
  • AV Software help files
what to read1
What to Read
  • Other types of resources
    • web pages like
      • CNet
    • newsgroups (alt.comp.virus)
    • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
    • Key word search on “computer virus”
other safety measures
Other Safety Measures
  • Make sure both your home and work systems are protected
  • Get to know your AV software
  • If you're a business user, you need an enforceable virus policy
  • Practice Safe Computing
business costs
Business Costs
  • Training a response team
  • Taking the team from their real jobs or hiring consultants when infection occurs
  • Cost of AV software
  • Cost of maintaining upgrades, subscriptions and tracking technological changes
business costs1
Business Costs
  • Educating employees in the virus issues and safe computing
  • Cost in time of routine anti-virus measures, such as scanning hard disk drives
  • Cost of servicing false alarms
business costs2
Business Costs
  • Resource utilization by undetected viruses
  • Formulating and enforcing a backup policy
  • Formulating and enforcing anti-virus policy
personal costs
Personal Costs
  • Cost of AV software
  • Cost of maintaining upgrades every six months
  • Subscriptions for virus definitions
  • Cost in time of routine anti-virus measures, such as scanning hard disk drives
personal costs1
Personal Costs
  • Computer speed - something else for the computer to do
  • Software bugs
    • 1992 from a clone vendor the office employed
  • Monkey
    • 1996 from working on a laptop while trying to find out why a PCMCIA card did not work. The virus was not the reason for the hardware problem
    • 1998, Excel macro virus from an infected file sent over the office network
  • Anti CMOS A
    • 1998, found while scanning for the Larue
Pretty Park
    • March, 2000, e-mail attachment
  • Numerous hoaxes
Hype, Hoax and Myth are part of the Virus scene
  • The Internet is an ideal forum for information and misinformation
  • By news media to sell news and entertain us
  • By virus software vendors to sell software or enhance the company net worth
  • Please Help!
  • Did you hear? Tell everybody you know!
  • Chain Letters
hoax virus
Hoax (Virus)
  • This virus will explode your hard disk drive
  • That virus will set your monitor on fire
  • The other virus will infect your cat
  • DOS file attributes (read only, hidden, system) protect executable files from infection
  • FDISK-ing your HDD will kill all viruses (it will certainly kill all your data)
  • Write protecting suspect floppies stops infection
  • I will be completely protected if I only...
  • It (software or hardware) was shrink wrapped so I can’t get a virus
  • This computer doesn’t work right, it must be a virus!!!!!
Update Virus Definitions
  • Demo of an Anti Virus Program
    • Scan a drive
    • Scan a file
    • Scan an e-mail attachment
  • Viruses in the News (from web pages)
  • Debunking hype, hoax and myth