May 28, 2005

Computer Anti-Virus Programs

The Adweek website notes that the FTC has sued 'Lonely Housewives' Spam Ring. This would be those incessant but terminally sense-dulling spam emails claiming to be from "lonely housewives" whom, one surmises, badly need company. Bad enough, but the article goes on to quote the FTC in saying:

The FTC said the group used compromised computer networks to send the spam and obscure its source.

What this means is that: (a) if your computer is connected to the Internet, it is part of a network (the Internet), and (b) if your computer has been compromised with "back door" entrances and other means of control (other than your own), then it could be used as part of a network of computers to send out spam email. What are the odds of this happening? A quick search at a search engine will tell you that.

The good news, however, is that one doesn't have to put up with such intrusions; anti-spyware and anti-virus programs abound. It's important to note, however, that all anti-virus programs are not equal. A visit to virus.gr to see the results of its latest heavy-duty anti-virus program test reveals that, as usual, they've tested a long list of anti-virus programs by throwing 91,000+ viruses at them — and that, beyond the top four winners (Kaspersky, F-Secure, AVK and e-scan), the rest of the list scored far lower. We're talking 92% effective for the fifth entrant, and dropping quickly from there. Kind of like a lock for your home that works "a lot" of the time. Mostly. I guess.

With computers — like any VCRs and, oh, cars — one needs to know a little bit to ensure that things work properly. But, like anything else, it doesn't have to be painful; it's just a step at a time kind of thing. Let's boot those lonely housewives California guys outta there.

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