October 16, 2004

Protecting against viruses

What are viruses?

Viruses are programs that are able to replicate themselves. Generally they spread via the internet, because in this way they can infect many computers very quickly. Virus programmers are writing new viruses all the time, and different viruses are designed to do different things. Some viruses are just annoying jokes, whilst others are capable of corrupting and removing your files.

How can I remove viruses?

You can use an anti-virus program to search for and destroy viruses. Some anti-virus programs also prevent viruses from installing, by scanning email attachments and downloaded files (which may have viruses attached) as soon as they arrive on your computer.

If you are studying at Warwick you can share the university's Symantec Norton Antivirus licence, which means you can get the anti-virus program and updates for free. To download Norton Antivirus, or to download the necessary patch if you have Service Pack 2 installed on Windows XP, click on the link below:

Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition/Patch for Service Pack 2

Before you install Norton Antivirus, be sure to first uninstall any other anti-virus software you might already be using.

When you have installed Norton Antivirus, you should run Live Update as soon as possible to get the latest virus information, and then scan your computer. You should then continue to run and update Norton Antivirus frequently (at least every few days).

The removal of some malware may require special tools, rather than your virus scanner. Some worm removal tools are available from Symantec:

Removal tools

If you think your virus scanner might have missed some malware, get a second opinion. There are various free online scanners – try Panda ActiveScan:

Panda ActiveScan


- 3 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Most of the problems at the moment are really worms rather than virii – have a look at symantec who have a page on the things. Thankfully a decent firewall (as you discuss in a different entry) is fairly efficient at stopping worms from propagating, as long as it's working properly and you aren't running services that you don't need to (like file and printer sharing).

    Personally, I don't run full disk scans very often at all. My machines update their NAV definitions every night, but I don't scan my own machine routinely. If code is going to execute, it'll be seen by the auto-protect thingy.

    My machines at work scan themselves nightly, because they're on and nobody's there to be annoyed by them slowing down.

    17 Oct 2004, 00:08

  2. ZoneAlarm firewall vs SP2 firewall. Which is better?

    17 Oct 2004, 22:56

  3. Neither is particularly good. SP2 firewall is fine. Haven't used zonealarm for a long time. Don't use either at the moment because I'm behind a NAT that I control.

    18 Oct 2004, 22:57


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