Having Virus Protection software ensures security of the data Essay
Having Virus Protection software ensures security of the data
Inline with the growth of internet, is the growth of security threats from malwares (viruses, spywares and adware) that comes from the vast interconnect of the word wide web. As new technology comes to provide more security to your PC, new technology are also added that provides vulnerabilities to malicious codes. A malicious code could be inserted from downloaded files of un-trusted origins. Other sites trick you to download what they claim as useful file but instead it is either a virus or worm. You will only learn later after clicking it that your PC security has been compromised.
On other worst cases, this malicious code can delete or corrupt your important data. “It is estimated that PC Viruses cost businesses approximately $55 Billion in damages in 2003” (Security Stats, 2000). There are a number of ways to protect your PC from viruses, spywares, and adwares. This includes activating your firewall, limiting the access rights, or installing an virus protection software. Normally, it includes the combination of all in order to secure your PC from harmful malwares. Having a virus protection is almost used by everyone to protect their PC.
Although a majority of these people using virus protection software knows only a little of the details of protection they get from this software. They are often captured by expensive well known virus protection software when all they need are found on cheaper or free virus protection software. Statement of the Problem The purpose of this document is to explain the importance of having virus protection software. It also goes further by analyzing and providing data as to how effective and to what extent are these virus protection software effective in protecting important data.
The document provides arguments to the quality of virus protection software that you need. Forms of Malwares Viruses A virus is a man made program that is loaded into your PC and does things that are not your intent. In most cases, a virus can replicate itself either by staying resident in memory or relying on user actions to spread from one PC to another. Viruses can be transmitted via the network, PC to PC connection, emails, floppy disks, pen drives and other means of physical data transfer.
Variants of viruses are classified as Trojans, Worms and Macro-virus. Trojans are malicious code embedded within another program so that when the program is run, the Trojan is also run. Trojans are often used by hackers to gain access to your PC through backdoors aided by Trojans. Trojans may also be embedded through emails as executable attachments with single or double extension files. Worms are small programs that replicates over a network. They normally cause a lot of trouble such as freezing of processes due to their unwanted use of resources.
An example of a worm is “the Sasser worm that tries to contact hosts repeatedly in a short time period at the same port” (Harder et al, 2005). Macro-viruses are embedded as macro-commands for word or excel documents. Microsoft word and excel allows power macro to be embedded within the document. A virus can be made from these macro and turn into a deadly virus. Spyware Spywares are programs that are loaded into your PC and are used specifically to secretly obtain information from your PC that are transmitted to advertisers, hackers or other interested parties.
Spywares are the greatest threat to privacy in the internet. Adware Adware are programs that are added to most freeware and shareware programs you download from the web to serve pop-ups and banners. Normally they produce very annoying pop-ups and consume some of your PC resources resulting into a much slower system. Possible Consequences of Infected PCs Malwares in general slows down your PC because they take up computer resources when running. Some worms take up so much of your resources that the PC becomes too slow to be even useful.
Other viruses can lead to data loss due to direct deletion of files or by corruption of storage devices due to the uncoordinated process that they perform. In some cases, the formats and partitions of storage devices gets damaged by viruses leaving your data unusable. Spywares and other virus can lead to identify theft due to the information they secretly extract from your PC. This can lead to serious problems such as identity theft of your web based accessible bank accounts or email accounts.
Hackers can access your web based accessible bank accounts if they can obtain sufficient information and transfer your money to their accounts. Virus can also corrupt your operating system due again to the uncoordinated process or deletion of system files. An infected PC can infect more PC within the network or infect storage devices that are temporarily attached to your PC such as ped drives, floppy disk or external drives. Analysis of Virus Protection Software Attacks Prevented by Virus Protection Software
Most virus protection software protects you from viruses whose signatures are already included in the virus definition file. Virus protection software periodically scans files and memory for known virus signatures. The user may also invoke virus protection software to scan certain folders anytime the user deem necessary. Virus protection software also “monitors files as they are opened or created to make sure they are not infected” (Get Safe Online, 2007). Most virus protection software also scans emails to insure there are no viruses attached.
Virus protection software can either delete, repair or quarantine files infected by viruses. In most cases, it is best to delete infected files if the files can be deleted. Most virus protection software are also able to detect spywares and adwares that are introduced by virus program to install into your PC. Attacks Not Covered by Virus Protection Virus protection software are not able to protect you from new viruses whose virus definition file are not yet included in the software’s date. They are also not able to protect you from most spyware and adware programs.
Most spyware programs are spread through the internet via infected servers. Infected servers redirect good sites to fraudulent sites that install malicious code into your PC. An example were the servers found in Russia that worked by infecting some Web sites so that when Net surfers visited those sites, they were redirected to the Russian server, which downloaded software onto surfers’ PCs (Lemos, 2004). Virus protection software cannot also protect you from most installation software that contains malicious code. Hackers that attack your PC without the use of Trojans are also not detected by virus protection software.
Virus protection software are also not able to stop spammers from flooding your inboxes. When you go online and access web sites, a virus protection software is also not able to protect you from phishing sites. Phishing sites are fraudulent sites that obtain personal information to gain access to your PC or for advertising purposes. Some phishing sites are redirected from good servers that are infected by malicious code that redirects you to a fraudulent site. You give up personal information thinking that you are still in the intended site that you are accessing.
Quality of Virus Protection Software The effectiveness of virus software depends primarily on the number of virus definition file that it contains and how updated these signatures are. It is not very much dependent on what type of antivirus software you have. Therefore, it is not very advisable to purchase expensive virus protection software. What is important is that you can get a continuous update when you connect to the internet. Most virus that cause major havoc are those viruses that are not yet included in the recent virus definition file.
Therefore whether the virus protection software is expensive or not, if the virus is very new, then none of the virus protection software can detect it until it can be included in the signature file. Presently, the methods of virus protection algorithm are almost similar using a set of signature to detect viruses. So it is advisable to choose only those that you can update the virus definition as often as possible, do not base it on the price of the antivirus software to guage the quality of virus protection software.
Most virus or malwares in general exploit weaknesses within the system or application to spread the malicious code. For example in 2004, “security researchers are seeing the first signs of a large-scale virus attack taking advantage of a known flaw in the way JPEG images are processed in Microsoft Windows products” (Naraine, 2004). This vulnerability is due to the way GDI, which is included in the GDIplus. dll, processes JPEG files. Since its detection, Microsoft immediately released a patch for it and a scanning tool to determine if the GDI+ library needs a patch or not.
So that a virus protection is only secondary to this type of prevention, the operating system must be updated from security threats. This again does not make virus protection software the ultimate protection and therefore it is not advisable to buy them if free virus protection software is available. Virus protection software are also not able to recover severely damaged files, they can only protect your PC from the spread of viruses. Virus protection software are only best for detection so that the spread can be prevented but not in cleaning infected files and most anti-virus package, even the free are able to perform virus detection.
Again it is still best to delete infected files and replace them with fresh from installers not merely removing the infected portion because the file may already be damaged beyond the normal repair. So that since most free antivirus software are able to perform the detection and deletion of infected files, they are sufficient to protect your PC. What else should be done? Aside from having a virus protection, it is necessary to get updates of security patch of your operating system to prevent virus exploits of these vulnerabilities. Care must be taken in downloading files from the internet.
It is important that you read user feedback of the authenticity of web files before using them. When receiving emails, be sure to delete files that are from unknown origin. Do not use full privileged account such as administrator account when visiting websites. Use limited or guest account to prevent viruses from altering your system files. Make sure that your firewall is up when surfing the web to prevent pop-ups and other malwares from being able to enter your PC. Read resources that provide details of virus protection mechanism so that you will know how to protect your PC.
When your PC is not in need of internet connection, please “disconnect it from the Internet to avoid hacker attacks” (Information Technology Services Centre, 2004). Since virus protection normally do not protect you from spyware, it is also necessary to install spyware protection software. Do not rely heavily on virus protection software alone, they are necessary to ensure security of data but they are not the ultimate solution to protect your PC. The most effective solution to protect your data is back-up regularly to other physical storage devices such as recordable CD, recordable DVD, pen drives or other external drives.
So that when a virus destroys your data, you can still recover it from your backup. Conclusion Virus protection software is very important in securing your data. Although it is not necessary that you purchase expensive virus protection software, what is important is that you can get a constant update of the virus definition file for it. Since virus protection cannot protect you from all forms of malware and new viruses, it is necessary that you exercise other forms of security measures.
This includes firewall, limited access account for surfing the net, connect to the internet only when necessary, install anti-spyware, regular backup of data, and continuous update of system security patches.
Unknown. (2000). Virus Related Statistics. Security Stats Inc Website. Retrieved April 25, 2007 from http://www. securitystats. com/virusstats. html Harder, U. et al (2005). Observing Internet Worm and Virus Attacks with a Small Network Telescope. Department of Computing, Imperial College London. Retrieved March April 25, 2007 from http://pubs.doc.ic.ac.uk/network-telescope/network-telescope.pdf