IUG Internet Top Tips #3 .... VIRUSES
Several people have asked for information about viruses so ....
some pointers:

How will you know if your computer has a caught virus?
If it is the type of virus that corrupts your files
you will certainly notice that something is wrong!
If it is the sort of virus that infects your e-mail
program you might not notice but the people
in your email address book will certainly notice.

For example: The recent SirCam virus saturated the
Internet with millions of unintended e-mail messages
sent by the virus from infected computers to people
whose email addresses were stored in the e-mail
address books of the infected computers.

Some Internet providers had to suspend accounts
of people who failed to clean out the virus from their
personal or business computers.
Of course, if you have antivirus software installed
and regularly updated you will know instantly and
will be able to clean the virus from your hard drive..

What does Antivirus software do?
If you regularly download the software updates:
Antivirus software can warn you of an infection and
can remove the offending virus before it does damage
to your computer or to the computers of people whose
addresses are in your address book or browser cache.

How do you 'catch' a computer virus?
One way you might 'catch' a computer virus could
be by opening an infected email attachment.

How can you tell if an attachment is a virus?
The only visible clue that an attachment is a
virus might sometimes be a double file-name extension.
For example: "file-name.txt.bat" or "file-name.txt.pif"
NOT ALL viruses are named like this.

How can you avoid being infected by an attached virus?
NEVER OPEN an attachment unless you know what
it is and are expecting it.
DO NOT TRUST that the friend or relative to whose email
it is attached really sent it to you.
CHECK BACK with your correspondent to ask if there
should have been an attachment to their recent email to you.
MAC USERS get many fewer viruses but should practice all
the same cautions. A Macintosh user could pass on an
e-mail type of worm/virus, through infected email, to a Windows user.

How can you be a responsible e-mail correspondent?
In the text of any email message to which you attach a
document clearly state that you are attaching a document
- give its filename and the software program it can be
opened with.
For example:
"I am attaching a file named xyz.doc
created in Microsoft Word 5.1"
If you - for example - catch the SirCam infection what should you do?
Download the relevant bit of software from
http://www.sarc.com/avcenter/
Close all programs including any anti-virus software
running in the background
Disconnect from the Internet or any home or
business network
Double click on the icon of the downloaded fix and
let the fix-it program purge your system of the virus.
Restart your computer until it runs properly
(might need restarting several times.)