4.7. An Ounce of Prevention
A final issue, and perhaps the most important one, is to determine why viruses spread in the first place. These days, software manufacturers are alert to the threat of security holes. Hordes of hackers regularly test network defenses or code vulnerabilities. When a hole is found, in most cases a warning is raised before an exploit is published. Manufacturers scramble to produce small updates, or patches, that improve the affected code and eliminate the vulnerability. It is a sad statement that today many attacks come days or months after a manufacturer learns of a problem and posts a cure.
In short, most people who have virus problems have them because they have not availed themselves of available protections. In most cases, all that would have been needed to prevent a disruption is to have obtained virus protection software. This can be done either by purchasing a commercial product, by downloading a free product from the Web, or by periodically logging on to a web-based scanning service. Also, make sure to keep your virus definition tables updated, and install patches and security updates on operating systems and applications as required.
Do this, and the virus problems that make headlines will for the most part pass you by. To some, the cure must seem worse than the disease. The phenomenon roughly parallels that of smoking, which even some tobacco manufacturers now acknowledge has adverse effects. To some, the risks seem acceptableuntil the consequence arrives.