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Virus Utilities
ALL ABOUT ...
- Virus Alert
- Know Your Enemy
- The Symptoms
- The Cure
- Anatomy of a MacroVirus
- Tips for a Virus-Free PC

- Safety on the Net

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Virus Utilities

Virus Alert

The Symptoms

Determining if your PC is infected can be difficult, but at the first sign of odd behavior--improper booting, a familiar program refusing to run or the inability to save a document--think virus. Other unusual behavior, such as sluggish hard disk performance, frequent floppy drive accesses or unfamiliar screen messages, could be evidence, too. Of course, there may be other reasons for these symptoms, but there's a good chance that a virus is the cause. You should stop using the PC, get an antivirus package and install it immediately.

More experienced users may know that certain programs have specific date signatures and file sizes. If you know this information, you should check COMMAND.COM, WIN.COM and other executables; if there's evidence of change, an antivirus remedy is in order.

Some viruses go for broke, infecting as many files as they can before they're detected. Others are slow infectors, contaminating files over a longer period of time and hoping not to arouse suspicion. Slow infectors attach themselves to executables that would be modified during normal use, such as software packages that incorporate new configuration information in their program files. This tactic can help avoid detection by antivirus utilities that track file date and size.

Many viruses in the wild are not programmed to erase files on the hard disk or inflict similar damage. But they, too, can become destructive. The Stoned virus was supposed to simply display the messages "Your PC is Stoned" and "Legalize Marijuana" every eighth time the infected system booted. But the author calculated his code for 360KB low-density floppy disks. When the virus found its way onto higher-capacity floppies, it destroyed their boot sectors, making the files on the floppy disks inaccessible.


The Cure




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