Viruses online and offline
and dealing with them when they infect
 
 
Back to the Windows 95 AntiVirus Page
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To keep the bugs away and preparation for virus removal in case of infection:  
 
 

If you find a virus:

Ten Common Virus Myths
 
 
  1. MY COMPUTER COULD BE INFECTED IF I CALL AN INFECTED BBS OR FTP INTERNET WEB SITE.
  2. FALSE: BBS and FTP sites can not write information onto your diskettes. The communications software, or web browser you use performs this task. You can only transfer an infected file to your computer if you let your software do it. If a virus infected file is transferred to your computer it can not spread until you execute the downloaded file. If a file is Scanned after being downloaded, and found to be infected, it can be safely deleted before infecting other components of the computer
    .

  3. VIRUSES CAN HIDE INSIDE A DATA FILE.
  4. FALSE: Data files can not spread a virus on your computer. Only executable program files can spread viruses. These are files that contain a binary header explaining to the operating system that they contain executable code. If a computer virus infected a data file, it would be a useless effort. By definition, a virus is something that must replicate. Since a data file is not executed, only loaded, the virus would not be able to replicate.

  5. VIRUSES DO NOT INFECT ZIP FILES.
  6. FALSE: The files inside the ZIP file could be infected. To secure your system from infected ZIP files, first copy the ZIP file into a directory of its own, then using PKUNZIP extract the files into that directory. You now have all the files and nothing has been executed. SCAN the files that were extracted. Nothing is executed when you unzip, so it is safe to SCAN the extracted files before the user runs them.

  7. BOOT-SECTOR VIRUSES TRAVEL IN SOFTWARE DOWNLOADED FROM BBS'S.
  8. FALSE: Boot sector viruses can only spread by direct contact and "booting" or attempting to boot the computer from an infected diskette. BBS's deal only in program files and do not pass along copies of disk boot sectors. Bulletin board users have an immunity to boot-sector viruses when they download software. NOTE: "Dropper" programs were developed by virus researchers as a way to transfer boot sector viruses among themselves. Since they do not replicate, "dropper" programs do not qualify as viruses.

  9. MY FILES ARE DAMAGED, IT MUST HAVE BEEN A VIRUS ATTACKING MY FILES.
  10. FALSE: This is the most common virus misconception. Damaged files can be caused by many things. Damaged files could be the result of a power surge, power drop, static electricity, magnetic forces, failing hardware component, bug in another software package, dust, fingerprints, spilled coffee, etc. Power failures and spilled cups of coffee have destroyed more data than any viruses.

  11. VIRUSES CAN SPREAD TO ALL TYPES OF COMPUTERS.
  12. FALSE: Viruses are limited to a family of computers. A virus designed to spread on IBM PCs cannot infect an IBM 4300 series mainframe, nor can it infect a Commodore C64, nor can it infect an Apple Macintosh. Word Macro viruses are an exception. Macro viruses can spread on any platform that runs Microsoft Word.

  13. MY BACKUPS WILL BE WORTHLESS IF I BACKUP A VIRUS.
  14. FALSE: Suppose a virus is backed up with your files. It could not be a boot infecting virus because the back-up software will not back up the boot sector. If you had a file infecting virus, you could restore important documents, databases, and your data, without restoring an infected program. Remember myth #2, viruses can not hide in your program data, only in program files. You may reinstall programs from master disks. It is monotonous work, but not as hard as some people believe.

  15. READ-ONLY FILES ARE SAFE FROM VIRUS INFECTIONS.
  16. FALSE: Some computer users believe you can protect yourself by using the DOS ATTRIB command to set the read-only attribute on program files. However, ATTRIB is software, and what it can do, a virus can undo. The ATTRIB command very rarely halts the spread of viruses.

  17. VIRUSES CAN INFECT WRITE-PROTECTED DISKETTES.
  18. FALSE: Since viruses can modify read-only files, people tend to believe they can also modify write-protected floppy diskettes. The disk drive senses a protected diskette and refuses to write on it. This is controlled by the hardware. You can physically disable an IBM PC drive's write-protect sensor, but you cannot override it with a software command.

  19. ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE WILL PROTECT ME FROM ALL VIRUSES, ALL OF THE TIME.
  20. FALSE: There is no such thing as a foolproof virus protection program. New viruses are constantly being designed to bypass them. Antivirus products are constantly being updated to protect against the latest virus threats. The best protection is a security policy and a system for protecting yourself from virus threats. Use a good set of backups as your first line of defense. Rely on antivirus software as a second line of defense.
     


From the Lauderdale County Chalkboard
------------------ Thu Sep 4 10:23:39 1997 --------------------------

Robert sent the following: fact

This subject just won't die will it?

Thinking you will get a virus from opening and reading text e-mail is like thinking you will catch a
cold from someone by talking on the phone with them.

If you have Microsoft Internet Mail or Netscape Mail in their native version (i.e. unmodified and virus free), you
cannot get a virus by opening and reading an e-mail message. Attachments (called applications in posts above) are not
launched unless you double click on them. Do not double click on these attachments unless you trust the sender
and are expecting the file. And even then, you should run a virus checker program just as you would any programs
you download off the internet.
The "from" address in e-mail can be faked. If you get something from IBM about a bogus virus forget it. Watch
The Site or read one of the links John posted about viruses.
Also, if someone were trying to spread a virus through e-mail don't you think they would change up the subject
line?

Lets' review

     You can't get a virus from text e-mail
     It is ok to open e-mail
     You can get a virus from attachments
     It is not ok to open attachments unless you know what it is and trust the sender
     Run a virus checker on any programs you download off the internet or receive as an attachment to e-mail
     "From" addresses can be faked
     Don't believe everything you read in e-mail
     Someone smart enough to write a virus wouldn't use the same tell-tell subject line

A final note:

If someone were gonna make a for-real e-mail text virus they would put it in a message titled
"VIRUS ALERT" and make it look like it was from your friend (or IBM).


Links to other Sites of Interest
 in this area

 

Pages@ McAfee Associates
 

Pages @Symantec (Norton Antivirus) Pages @ IBM
  Anti-Virus Sites @ Yahoo  
Pages @ DataFellows (FPROT) A Good "Personal" Page on Email Virus Hoaxes  
 
 



 
This page is designed and written by John Jenkins. If there are any questions or other issues about the content, email me, and I will deal with it in a timely manner. If specific help is requested an email address with an lctn.com or ecsis.net domain is required. All others will be deleted. As with all programs on the internet, you, the downloader, assumes all risk of file damage or viruses that these or any programs may contain that are received over the internet. Neither CSS, ECS, nor the author will be responsible for any damage done by any program received over the internet. Please note this includes programs that are virus free but may cause problems with other programs on your computer and programs that simply won't run right on a particular machine.