It cost one of our friends a whole lot of money, much aggravation and lost time, lost records, and a major inconvenience to recover from havoc caused by worms and viruses that had infiltrated their computer over a period of many months.
Actually, our friends are like so many other people who use their computers primarily for communicating with family and their friends by email, sharing personal pictures, playing a few games, doing a little research now and then, making airline and hotel reservations, and maybe even balancing their check books.
Surfing internet for them was just a sometime thing, not necessarily a must-do daily routine.
They were aware of computer viruses and had even heard of firewalls. Occasionally, public comments on TV and in newspapers about wide sweeping virus attacks with odd names like ‘MyDoom’, ‘Sasser’, and ‘Bagel’ caught their attention.
After those reported epidemics were no longer news items, they simply put them out of mind, and resumed use of internet.
When they purchased their computer a few years ago, it came with virus scanning software but not a Firewall program. So, they believed ‘they were protected’!
The general public didn’t really care about Trojan Horse dangers then, because no one was really making an effort to inform them of insidious efforts of Hackers, spammers, and malcontents who were flooding internet with their poison.
Even today, there are computer users who believe that they don’t need a firewall. They aren’t aware that Firewalls help stop some of viruses and worms that are hidden in email attachments and other downloaded information.
They aren’t aware of new strains and variants of worms, adware and other spyware programs that crop up nearly daily, or that there are over 70,000 identified computer viruses.
They aren’t aware because for past few years, their chances of actually being infected by a computer virus were very small, and spyware and adware weren't even discussed in general news media.
Not so any longer!
Some authoritive researchers have determined that internet is so dangerous today, that an unprotected computer connected to internet is likely to become infected within 20 minutes of going on line.
A protected computer today MUST HAVE an up-to-date Firewall program, up-to-date virus scanning software, up dated Spyware scanning software programs, and latest updates from manufacturers of their web browsers (MicroSoft’s Internet Explorer in particular).
Unfortunately for our friends, they were not aware that their anti-virus program needed to be brought up to date on a regular basis. A few years ago, maybe a monthly update would have saved them from their virus grief.
(Actually, they had never updated their anti-virus program at all).
The safest way today is to use anti-virus and anti-spyware software that can be programmed to download updates automatically from Software providers themselves.