Keep pace with technology, but beware computer viruses Consumer Concerns
By Eileen Cox
Stabroek News
June 16, 2002

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A clipping from the Guyana Chronicle of 22 January this year tells us that Guyana seeks to keep pace with technological advances. One paragraph of the text reads:

"The Prime Minister explained that a February 2002 deadline has been set to open up the telecommunications sector and new players, who will be invited to provide a wider range of telecommunications services, will be governed by the new regulations."

Well February has gone and we are still far away from the opening up of the telecommunications sector. None the less, we have to keep abreast of technological advances.

The June issue of Consumer Reports includes an article on Cyberspace Invaders. There is a warning that "Hackers and computer viruses can trash your computer - or use it to attack banks, insurance companies, power plants, and other institutions." The article tells us what the hackers can do and how to stop them. "Once the computer has been hacked ... the hacker could extract enough personal information to impersonate you or steal important financial data."

We learn that the Internet itself lacks effective technological, legal, and human resources to stop these incursions. But hackers and viruses can be blocked. Norton Anti Virus 2002 and McAfee Virus Scan 6.0 are the top two anti virus software recommended. Every computer should be equipped with anti virus software. Firewalls are recommended to hold off hackers.

Among the documents on my desk is one sent to me late last year. There is no indication of the source of the document but it gives advice on dealing with viruses. It begins:

"Beware of computer plagues. Plan now for the prevention and immunization against computer viruses."

"No one, company, or even government, is immune from the electronic invasions or illnesses that strike our global communications village. Yahoo, one of the most popular internet service providers, is struck down for more than a day by computer hackers."

The two most dangerous viruses at that time were -

1) Navided.exe
2) Upgrade internet2
"With upgrade internet2, even the world’s most powerful anti-viral medication is powerless. Worse than King Kong or Godzilla, it will erase everything in hard drives and remain in memories eating everything that comes its way."

The Golden Rule for computer users is:

"Never download an e-mail attachment from a computer you do not know."

Even this rule may not be safe. Recently I received an e-mail message from a friend. I later learnt that she had sent no message. Her name and e-mail address had been used.

Norton Anti Virus 2002 warns you when a virus is present in your computer. Here are samples of undesirable messages:

"Hello. This is an excite game. The game is my first work. You are the first player. I wish you would like it."

"Look, my beautiful girl friend."

"Klex E is the most common worldwide spreading worm. It’s very dangerous by corrupting your files ... Note" Because tool acts as a fake Klex to fool the real worm a monitor maybe cry when you run it. If so, ignore the warning and select ‘Continue’.

"Hi, Japanese lass sexy pictures."

All the above messages showed Content Type "text/html".

The article in Consumer Reports lists other ‘stupid virus tricks’ and states:

"Most malevolent software won’t infect your machine unless you open an e-mail attachment. So virus distributors use various tricks which experts call ‘social engineering’ to con you into clicking."