Manage My Account:


Help Desk

Protecting against a virus

The Definition of Virus

A virus is a manmade program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge and runs against your wishes. Viruses can also replicate themselves. A simple virus that can make several copies of itself can be very dangerous because it will quickly use all of your computer's available memory and bring the computer to a halt.

How To Determine If You Have a Virus

Viruses are evolving all the time. Exposures from an infected disk, downloaded program, e-mail attachment, or Word macro are real possibilities. Your computer may or may not exhibit symptoms of virus infection. Common signs of a virus infection include deleted or altered system files, strange error messages or other unusual messages appearing on the computer screen, a decrease in the system's performance, or the inability to access the hard drive. However, these symptoms are not all-inclusive and do not necessarily indicate virus exposure.

If any of these symptoms occur, you can run a virus-detection software to minimize damage. You can also use this software to run regular preventive maintenance checks. It is important to frequently update the anti-virus software you use to ensure that your PC is protected against new viruses.

Recommended Anti-Virus Software

GRU.Net recommends Symantec's Norton AntiVirus and McAfee's VirusScan. In addition to running the software, it is necessary to perform routine updates to ensure that your anti-virus software is configured to meet emerging virus threats. In general, the manufacturers provide regular updates via the Internet free of charge.

Ways to Prevent Receiving a Virus

  • Do not open any files attached to e-mail from an unknown, suspicious or untrustworthy source.
  • Do not open any files attached to e-mail unless you know what it is, even if it appears to come from a dear friend or someone you know.
  • Do not open any files attached to e-mail if the subject line is questionable or unexpected. If the need to do so is there always save the file to your hard drive and then run a virus check on it prior to opening it.
  • Delete chain e-mails and junk e-mail. Do not forward or reply to any of them. These types of e-mail are considered SPAM, which is unsolicited, intrusive mail that clogs up the network.
  • Do not download any files from strangers.
  • Exercise caution when downloading files from the Internet. Ensure that the source is a legitimate and reputable one. Verify that an anti-virus program checks the files on the download site. If you're uncertain, don't download the file at all or download the file to a floppy and test it with your own anti-virus software.
  • Update your anti-virus software regularly. About 2000 viruses are discovered each month, so you'll want to be protected. These updates should be at the least the products virus signature files. You may also need to update the product's scanning engine as well.
  • Back up your files on a regular basis. If a virus destroys your files, at least you can replace them with your back-up copy. You should store your backup copy in a separate location from your work files, one that is preferably not on your computer.
  • When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and do not open, download, or execute any files or e-mail attachments. Not executing is the more important of these caveats. Check with your product vendors for updates that include those for your operating system, Web browser, and e-mail. One example is the security site section of Microsoft located at:

Download Anti-Virus DAT Files

To protect your computer and data from viruses, you must make it a habit to update your anti-virus protection vaccine files on a regular basis. Since new viruses are discovered at the rate of about 2000 per month, a good rule of thumb is to update your anti-virus definition (DAT) files at least twice a month.

There are at least two ways to update your DAT files:

  • Use the automatic update feature included on your anti-virus software program interface or
  • Download the DAT file directly from the Website of your anti-virus software (i.e., Norton or McAfee).

Receiving Multiple E-Mails With Viruses

If you receive multiple e-mail messages with attached viruses from the same user, the best solution is to eliminate the virus e-mails at the source. Contact GRU.Net Technical Support and report the problem. GRU.Net system administrators will correspond with administrators at the offending user's ISP. If the problem is not resolved at the ISP level, GRU.Net will block any incoming e-mail from the offending user.

Additionally, you may have success implementing protection on the receiving end (your PC). Some e-mail clients have the ability to filter incoming messages from a particular user or host. In addition to blocking e-mail from known virus carriers, you should always run anti-virus software to detect viruses that arrive as e-mail attachments.

GRU Flushables