Welcome to Reviews OnLine: Q&A: How do you fight a virus?
How do you fight a virus?
by Rick Smith (October 1998)

Fighting a virus is not a fun task. I would say that it is akin to fighting a brush fire. Unlike a fire, someone can have an older, non destructive virus on their machine without realizing it. And certainly, people can have viruses on their diskettes and fail to realize it, so even if you remove the virus from their computer, they can get a virus back again, minutes after you leave. (It's almost like having the fire department put a fire out in your backyard and then, within minutes after their leaving, start flinging lit matches into the unburned areas.)

I fought an outbreak of viruses in a small two hundred person division of a Fortune 500 company, while I was a consultant. If you find yourself in a similar position, here are some things you may find:

1. In some companies, no one truly cares about the total problem. Unless everyone (especially managers) are losing their work and as long as the servers are running fine, the IT department could care less.

2. Once individuals find out about the problem and that they could lose THEIR work, they really care, even if management doesn't. When people whom you help talk to others, these other people will want their machines checked for viruses and this "fire" of enthusiasm will build.

3. Use a good virus checker. I don't mean the one with the largest rebate this week or even the corporate choice. Chose one you would trust for your machine, AT HOME!

After this, it will be your ability to work with others (inter-personal skills) that will help you eradicate the problem. The the best way to fight viruses is to eliminate them BEFORE they even have ANY chance to infect the company. This is difficult to do without having management that is interested in solving the problem. An acquaintance told me that in Europe there are several computers in the lobby of some companies. Any diskettes going into that company MUST be checked on one of these machines. How did they monitor it? Simple, if a virus was found on your diskette, you were fired. That certainly makes the virus problem easier to solve.

Copyright 1998 Rick Smith All rights reserved.

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