Virus protection is critical.

How safe are you?

That depends on several questions about you and how you use the World Wide Web (www). It depends on your level of experience and how patient you are while moving through the various products you use that take advantage of the WEB.  It also depends on how fast your internet connection is. A slow Internet connection, i.e. dial up, the less exposure you will have. That doesn’t mean you won’t need an anti-virus product installed on your computer.

E-mail/ Web Browsers/ Search Engines/ Instant Messengers/ Social Networks/ Voice Over Internet/ Videoconferencing

All of these and more are there to provide us with methods of research, communication, entertainment and education.  This power that web sites literally put at our fingertips, frees us to access a vast warehouse of knowledge and to personally exchange information at any moment of the day.  Unfortunately this freedom does not come without a cost. That cost is the threat of virus intrusion.

Click on the word Virus at the top of the page and it will take you to an incomplete list of software companies that provide free and off the shelf for purchase antivirus protection. By clicking on the names of the companies at this site you will be provided with critical information and the methodology behind the software professing its ability to protect you. One more variation to virus protection is Anti Virus Monitoring provided by an MSP (Managed Service Provider). This is a whole industry by itself that offers an offsite protection program, as well as other beneficial services.


What are the significant differences between the three various types of virus protection?

Free                                      Paid                                             Monitored  

Free Anti-Virus is a limited version of the full version that is available for a fee.  Until 2011 HARD DRIVE felt that this was a viable option to the annual subscription costs of the full version.

For sale off the shelf Anti-Virus programs are capable of providing a greater degree of protection allowing the user to feel more secure than with the partial free version.

Monitored anti-virus through an MSP provides the greatest degree of protection.  With third party monitoring your protection comes at a greater cost but the service over shadows that expense by providing a superior limitation of a virus intrusion as well as monitoring your system for viruses that do get through, preventing them from becoming fully fledged infections. It can be like dodging a cold or the flu, you get the tickle in the back of your throat but wake up feeling great the next day.


The fight between the black hats and the white hats costs the end user by lowering the performance of the computer.  Your best protection is gained by implementing three levels of protection. First, before protection, is updating.  New is not always better but it is likely that whatever update is available will improve your protection.  As great an Operating System (OS) as Windows XP was with its built-in firewall, Windows 7 is even better. It’s faster, has a better start up speed, and includes a far better firewall.   Thus the updates are imperative to your protection program, until the black hats figure out how to work around it.


software firewall is always provided by your OS. In the case of Microsoft your firewall can be managed through your control panel/ system and security/ windows firewall. This is a one way firewall that is responsible for controlling the traffic that passes through the 65,535 ports. Each port is able to work simultaneously and independently on its own.  The fire wall prevents traffic from getting in but does not monitor out-flowing traffic. For the most part you will not have to do anything with all of these ports as the firewall is controlling and limiting their use from outside influences.

hardware firewall adds an additional layer of protection. Instead of working only one way it protects your computer’s information highway in both directions.  The least expensive way to add this type of firewall to your system is to add a wireless router. Otherwise you could spend hundreds or thousands of dollars getting a hardware firewall that will protect you with better and stronger protection from intrusion.

Last is your Anti-Virus protection. Without a software firewall and an anti-virus program you will become infected. Not only when, but how soon is the question.  Even with all three of these, software firewall, hardware firewall and an anti-virus program, you will still become infected. Not as soon, but eventually.  Unless the operator is extremely cautious I predict that everyone who reads this article will be infected inside of one year of purchasing a new computer no matter how good your protection is.  The more your computer becomes your center for information the more likely this statement will be true.

When a virus breaks through and remains unchallenged it typically performs three tasks. First, your anti-virus will be disengaged, then your system restore will be turned off and finally, it will shut down your Internet connection. What you should notice, and this is important, is that your computer starts to act sluggish, overall performance slows and icons move on your screen. The moment you notice this you can be sure you are infected. By doing nothing while your protection is diminished, the infection slowly finds its way deeper into the computer and it gets even slower. Without intervention this continues to go in a downhill direction, with more and more viruses getting in, until at last your computer stops working.

At this point you are at very high risk of having no choice but to recover by a complete reinstallation of your operating system, which is a drastic treatment. Regularly, your documents can be saved, but by the act of a reinstallation you lose all personalizing of your computer. Plus, all your aftermarket programs will have to be reinstalled, too.  Depending on what programs you really use this could take a lot of time.  Even in the case of programs that came installed when you purchased your machine you might have to buy new copies in order to return your computer to its original condition.

This is a very unfortunate condition to allow your computer to get into.  My suggestion is do anything you can to avoid allowing such a deep virus intrusion by better monitoring practices. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.


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