Article: Setting Up Your AntiVirus Software

by Richard Lowe

There is far more to antivirus software than just opening the box,
inserting the CD and installing software. To be properly protected
you may actually want to do a little more than that.

You see, a good antivirus program does a lot more than you might
think. In this article we will be discussing features of Norton
Antivirus 2002, one of the best and most full featured programs
available. Similar functions exist in the other major scanners.

The first thing you must do in this day and age is purchase and
install antivirus software. If you don't have this installed you
are literally living on borrowed time.

Some of the common features are described below.

Auto Protect

Perhaps the most important feature of all is auto protect. This
feature allows the antivirus system to perform it's tasks without
manual intervention. This is critical as then you can relax and
do what you need to do, without constantly worrying about checking
for viruses. Keep this turned on without fail.

Checking for email viruses

This is one of the most critical features of a modern antivirus
program is the ability to scan email messages as they arrive or
are sent. Scanning of this nature is relatively new and long


It's very important to remember that the most destructive viruses
arriveas attachments in email messages. I know, I know, you would
never, ever open anything that even remotely looked like a virus,
would you? But how would you know? Do you want to take the chance
on destroying your system?

Scanning disks for viruses

Most virus scanners will occasionally scan your disks for
anything that looks like a virus. In Norton Antivirus, you can
schedule this scan for as often as you like in fact, many
people turn it off entirely. After all, while the scan is running
your system will be slower than normal. It can be quite annoying.

Turning off the automatic disks scans is, however, a big mistake.
These check your disks for any viruses which may have gotten
through the front line defenses. How does this happen? You could
copy a virus to your hard drive from a CD ROM, a floppy or perhaps
across the network. It will be just sitting there, waiting to
explode in your face. Scanning the disks finds these little time
bombs and eliminates them.

But wait, if you have your antivirus program running won't it
catch and stop any viruses that you happen to open? Yes it will,
but you could still copy it to someone else, or another person
could grab it over the network (if you are in a company, for
example). Or perhaps for some reason you turn off your antivirus
program, then you could accidentally open it up and destroy your

Scanning for viruses in scripts on web pages

Believe it or not, you can catch a virus from a web page. All you
have to do is view the page and bang, you are infected. There are
not many of these yet, but you can bet there will be in the near
future. These are particularly nasty because, well, you don't have
a choice about executing the virus.

These are not like the email viruses, which require you to
actually open an attachment. They are not like other viruses,
which require you to execute a file. These simply require you to
view them. Pretty scary, if you ask me.

Thus, as you can see, it's very important to keep this feature
enabled at all times. That way you will catch and destroy these
things before you get hurt.

Regular updates

Be sure to subscribe to and use the regular virus updates. You
see, new viruses are found all of the time, and if you don't
update your definitions you will be vulnerable. In fact, after a
few months of no updates your antivirus software becomes virtually


The features of your antivirus software are put there for a
reason. My advice is to enable everything. Turn it all on. These
days you cannot be too careful or, if you prefer, you can
disable something and perhaps lose your data. It's your choice.

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About the Author

Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets
at Visit our website any time to
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