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Guarding Against Computer Viruses

Techstination feature for Thursday, February 18, 1999

What better time than flu season to talk about computer viruses. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bootcamp, a report on computers and technology. Sometimes you can get over the flu more quickly than your computer can get over a virus attack. And if you have an anti-virus program that was installed on your computer when you bought it, you may have a false sense of security. At Symantec, Marian Merritt is on the Norton Anti-Virus team...

"Well, we find that consumers, computer users, are very aware of computer viruses. Everyone's heard about them. They see movies that have plots based about computer virus threats. But there's a certain level of complacency that's starting to concern us. Either people have had anti-virus software on their system for a while and therefore think they are protected or they haven't had a virus maybe in the last year or so. Or so they think. And therefore they're not as concerned as perhaps they ought to be."

Hundreds of new viruses show up every month. The macro viruses are the most prevalent of all and they can easily be passed around through email attachments..

"And while we don't want people to be neurotic about it, it's certainly much better advice for users to get anti-virus software, install it on their computers and keep it up to date.

Most packages will allow you to update the software free for the first year and charge a small fee to renew. It is really worthwhile.