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Virus Questions
What is a Computer Virus? A computer virus is a program that is intentionally designed to cause damage to a third party's programs or databases and has at least one of the following functions:
  • Self-replication - The program can replicate itself or use another system function to infect other systems by copying itself into other programs.
  • Latency - The appearance of symptoms of virus infection are delayed by having the system wait for a specific point in time, a specific period of time, or a specific number of transaction executions.
  • Destruction - The virus destroys program, data, or other files or causes systems to operate in a way not intended by the designers.
Can I catch a virus just by surfing the web? No. Viruses are transfered when you install and run a program, not while youíre looking at web pages. Netscape version 4.0 and higher will warn you before it installs a program. Internet Explorer version 5.0 and higher will warn you if "Install on Demand" is disabled. To make sure "Install on Demand" is disabled, click Start, Settings, Control Panel and double click on Internet Options. Click on the Advanced tab and uncheck "Install on Demand".

Can I catch a virus just by reading e-mail? Yes. Older versions of Outlook and Outlook Express both have security problems that will allow a virus on your computer. You must upgrade to the latest version to correct these problems and/or install the fixes from Microsoftís web site. Netscape 4.5 and up have no known issues. Even with the latest e-mail programs, you can catch a virus by opening an attachment. Never open an attachment you arenít expecting.

Does Backroads provide e-mail virus scanning? For your protection, Backroads scans all incomming mail for known viruses before we pass it on to you. If a virus is detected, we send you an e-mail informing you that an e-mail message addressed to you was discarded and who it was from. Because we respect your privacy, we do not look at the contents of your message and no other action is taken. There is no extra charge for the service.

If Backroads scans my e-mail for viruses, do I still need an Anti-Virus program on my PC? Absolutely! E-mails are just one of the ways that a virus can get onto your PC. You can still get a virus from a floppy disk, a CD, or a download from the Internet.

How can I protect myself from viruses?

  • Do not exchange diskettes between computers.
  • If you want to give a friend information on a diskette, use a new diskette and let him/her keep it.
  • Do not install software from copies of the original diskettes or CDs.
  • Do not open e-mail attachments you arenít expecting.
  • Do not download and install software from the Internet unless you absolutely trust the source.
  • Upgrade to the latest browser and e-mail software. CDs containing the latest version of Internet Explorer, Netscape Communicator and 23 other Internet utilities are available from the Backroads office. The cost is $9.95 + tax.
  • If youíre running Internet Explorer, disable "Install on Demand". (Click Start, Settings, Control Panel and double click on Internet Options. Click on the Advanced tab and uncheck the "Install on Demand"
  • Disable Visual Basic Scripting. (Click Start, Find and type in WSCRIPT. Set "Look in" to your C drive. Click Find Now, then delete the file(s) named WSCRIPT or WSCRIPT.exe)
  • Run an anti-virus scan on your computer from time to time.
  • If you have anti-virus software on your computer, keep it updated.

What is VBS and why is it a problem? VBS or Visual Basic Scripting was developed by Microsoft to automate small tasks. Although it works well on web servers, its use on Personal Computers causes a security problem because it allows programs to be run without your knowledge. Fortunately, it is easy to disable VBS and youíll probably never need it. To disable VBS, delete WSCRIPT.exe, the file needed to run VBS scripts. Click Start, Find and type in WSCRIPT. Set "Look in" to your C drive. Click Find Now, then delete the file(s) named WSCRIPT or WSCRIPT.exe OH, NO! I think I have a virus! How do I get rid of it? First, scan your system with a good Anti-Virus program. (Click here for a list). If a virus is detected, follow the instructions given. Then set up the Anti-virus program to run on a regular schedule.