INDEPENDENT NEWS

Guard Against Virus Freaks Says Y2k Commission

Published: Wed 15 Dec 1999 04:08 PM
MEDIACOM-RELEASE-Y2K-READINESS-COMM
GUARD AGAINST VIRUS FREAKS SAYS Y2K READINESS COMMISSION
All computer users should take measures to guard against a real likelihood of threats to the security of their systems and information from now until well after the new year, says the Y2K Readiness Commission.
The warning comes from Y2K Readiness Commission special adviser, John Good, who says there is a very high chance that computer hackers and virus freaks will see the coming of the new millennium as an historic opportunity to undermine information technology systems around the globe.
The major organisations that are typically the target of hackers trying to infiltrate their systems, are already on watch to ensure that their information security is not breached over this period. However, viruses are a threat to every computer user.
"We all know that computer viruses pose a threat to the integrity of computer systems at any time. But with the new millennium imminent, the release of damaging new viruses will turn from a possibility into a certainty," Mr Good said.
"We know, for example, that elements in the `virus community' have already set up a competition for the best Y2K virus, so we are taking the issue very seriously.
"Our message to computer users is: avoid the potentially destructive effects of these viruses through `clean living' and good business practice."
Mr Good said effective measures against importing viruses include:
only use legitimate licensed software. Do not use pirated software, which could already be corrupt;
if you haven't one already, install an anti-virus programme as part of your computer software and keep it updated. This will enable you to scan all files and identify most computer viruses before they become a problem. Anti-virus software companies are aware of millennium viruses and are actively planning to counter them and update customers on their progress. Until the end of December anti- virus software from the major virus protection agencies is available FREE OF CHARGE on world wide web at: http://www.microsoft.com/y2k/antivirus/AntiVirus.htm; do not open any attachments to e-mails, no matter what the source, until you have scanned the file for viruses. Some systems will warn you of this beforehand;
be very circumspect about files stored on floppy disks or CDs - either scan them yourself (using your anti-virus programme) before opening a file, or ensure your system has the capability to automatically scan them for you;
turn your computer off as early as possible before the end of the year, and leave it as long as possible before turning it on again. This will ensure you are not vulnerable during the cyber-terrorists' most active time. It will also give the virus protection agencies more time to develop the countermeasures which will be needed;
for good practical advice on this topic look at:
http://www.year2000.co.nz/y2kart10.htm
"Most of this boils down to common sense and good housekeeping. If all companies, organisations and private users take responsibility for ensuring that they do not open and transmit corrupt programmes, we can avoid transmitting viruses," Mr Good said.
ENDS....

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