Rules to Avoid Viruses

Windows PCs are now a much softer target for viruses, and many organisations have been shut down by some of the recent virus attacks.

Here are some rules (in decreasing order of importance) that will help to protect your PC:

  1. Always backup your important files - either to a cloud file server or to removable disks.

  2. Keep your virus protection software up to date. Once a month used to be often enough, but once a week is more advisable now.

  3. Do not "open" an email attachment if you have any doubt that the sender intended to send it to you. 

  4. Always install the latest security updates for your browser.

  5. IF you "share" your disk with anyone else on the network using Microsoft file sharing, you should always apply a password, and avoid sharing the C: disk. Many new viruses attempt to spread themselves using shared disks. You should be aware that your shared disk can be accessed from any other system in the department unless you have a password applied to it.

  6. Do not install programs that you do not need, especially "Chat" style programs. Some of these have been used to infect PCs or capture information about you or your PC and send it to someone else. If you install a program and tire of using it, you should disable or uninstall it.

  7. Switch off your PC when you finish for the day.

  8. There are some less important rules too:

  9. Anyone running Microsoft's Internet server on a WindowsNT server MUST apply all patches available from Microsoft. All the recent attacks on server computers have been against the Microsoft web server.

  10. People running Linux (particularly RedHat) should regularly check for updates to the product. You should also apply restrictions to prevent anyone on the Internet getting access to your Linux system, and disable any programs that you do not need.

  11. If you are really paranoid about the security of your PC you should disable Java within Firefox or Internet Explorer browsers. The downside to this is that many web sites will not display correctly or be navigable with Java turned off.

Technical bulletins on Computer security problems can be found on the Auscert website - www.auscert.org.au