CAUGHT A VIRUS
Caught A Virus?
If you've let your guard down--or even if you haven't--it can be hard to tell if your PC is infected. Here's
what to do if you suspect the worst.
Heard this one before? You must run antivirus software and keep it up to date or else your PC will get
infected, you'll lose all your data, and you'll incur the wrath of every e-mail buddy you unknowingly
infect because of your carelessness.
You know they're right. Yet for one reason or another, you're not running antivirus software, or you are
but it's not up to date. Maybe you turned off your virus scanner because it conflicted with another
program. Maybe you got tired of upgrading after you bought Norton Antivirus 2001, 2002, and 2003. Or
maybe your annual subscription of virus definitions recently expired, and you've put off renewing.
It happens. It's nothing to be ashamed of. But chances are, either you're infected right now, as we
speak, or you will be very soon.
For a few days in late January, the Netsky.p worm was infecting about 2,500 PCs a day. Meanwhile the
MySQL bot infected approximately 100 systems a minute (albeit not necessarily desktop PCs). As David
Perry, global director of education for security software provider Trend Micro, puts it, "an unprotected
[Windows] computer will become owned by a bot within 14 minutes."
Today's viruses, worms, and so-called bots--which turn your PC into a zombie that does the hacker's
bidding (such as mass-mailing spam)--aren't going to announce their presence. Real viruses aren't like
the ones in Hollywood movies that melt down whole networks in seconds and destroy alien spacecraft.
They operate in the background, quietly altering data, stealing private operations, or using your PC for
their own illegal ends. This makes them hard to spot if you're not well protected.
Is Your PC "Owned?"
CAUGHT A VIRUS
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