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Cyber Policing

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Brodels816@aol.comthis is for college level computer...i got a 95% on it...hopefully it willhelp someone. Protection Against Viruses for All The word virus can be very disheartening, especially when computers areinvolved. A virus is composed of instructions hidden inside a program. Theseinstructions copy themselves to other programs, and the cycle continuesspreading. Fortunately, help is available; antivirus software is available toanyone. "Viruses first appeared in 1985. Then, they were largely created inuniversity laboratories by mostly wayward geniuses keen to pit theirprogramming skills against each other. Since then, errant programmers beganto create newer and more destructive viruses targeted at specific usergroups." (Yang, 1998) A computer virus can be as "evil as it sounds, snakingits way into personal computers, posing an occasional annoyance or a seriousthreat to all data." (Miastkowski, 1998) Symptoms can range from unpleasantto fatal. Computer viruses spread from program to program and computer tocomputer, "much as biological viruses spread within individual...members of asociety." (Chess, 1997) Diskettes were the "primary carriers of viruses inthe 1980s." ("Computer," 1997) Today, they are e-mail attachments, filetransfers and infected software downloads or uploads. Networks can evenspread viruses to large numbers of connected PCs rapidly. (Yang, 1998) No One working on a [personal computer] is risk free; more viruses are beingspread today than ever before, but more help is being developed as well.Special software is now in stores that will help to prevent any majordisasters that viruses can cause. (Miastkowski, 1998) Antivirus software isa program that protects against viruses. It scans all files on the hard disk,diskettes, CD ROM, and memory to locate viruses. ("Computer," 1997) The life cycle of a virus is rather complicated; it begins when a user runsan infected program. The computer copies the program from the disk into RAM,random access memory, where it can be performed. The viral code begins torun, and the virus copies itself into a part of RAM that is separate from theprogram. This allows the pesky virus to continue to spread while anotherprogram is running, until it is finished and passes back into the infectedprogram. "When the user runs a different program, the dormant virus begins torun again. It inserts a copy...into the...uninfected software so that thecycle...can repeat." (Chess, 1997) There are also other computer pests suchas "worms" that effect networks, but viruses are the most common. (Yang,1998) Years of research have allowed scientists to find ways to detect and destroyviruses. (Chess, 1997) "Building on decades of research by mathematicalepidemiologists, [researchers] have obtained some understanding of the factorsthat govern how quickly viruses spread." (Yegulalp, 1997) Many researchersfeel that they owe much to "pattern-matching techniques developed bycomputational biologists." (Chess, 1997) This has helped them to developantivirus software from the defenses used by the human body to fight offpathogens. According to an independent survey by the National Computer SecurityAssociation, the infection rate for personal computers in North America hasmore than tripled in the last year. (McDonald, 1997) "In the 1990s, the virus problem has become an epidemic. New forms, including the shape-changing polymorphic virus, elusive stealth strains, and the very common macro virusesare making their appearance with alarming frequency." (Yang, 1998) The macro viruses are big problems; they infect very popular programs such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. This type of virus can effect daily work mucheasier than any other virus. (Miastkowski, 1998)"Almost any [antivirus] package does a nice job of finding and eradicatingmost viruses, including macro viruses. The key is to keep the products'library of signatures--binary code that helps identify viruses--current."(Yegulalp, 1997) That is one area where these packages differ most. Some of the major brands of antivirus software include Norton AntiVirus 4.0,PC-cillin 3.0, Dr. Solomon's Anti-Virus 7.0, McAfee VirusScan 3.0, and IBMAntiVirus 3.0.1. (Miastkowski, 1998) "All the programs share some commonattributes; for starters...each program indeed hunts down and eradicates thebugs introduced into a system." (Cope, 1998) By far, the best at detectingand destroying viruses is Norton AntiVirus 4.0; it offers superiorprotection. This particular software uses a virus-detection technology called"Bloodhound." It "sniffs out viruses that may have been mutated beyond theiroriginal forms." (Yegulalp, 1997) TouchStone's PC-cillin 3.0 follows closelybehind Norton AntiVirus 4.0; it provides sufficient protection, and updatesare available over the internet. (Miastkowski, 1998) "Each program scans orboot-sector and memory-resident viruses automatically when [the user] turns onthe computer." They also include a Windows 95 antivirus shield that blockscontamination from infected floppy disks and warns the user when a taintedfile is being run. "In addition, they let users perform manual scans of anydrive from within Windows 95, and also check...files downloaded from theInternet." (Cope, 1998) "Norton AntiVirus 4.0 generously incorporates its Windows NT, DOS, Windows3.x and Windows 95 editions into one package. PC-cillin also runs under NT,although TouchStone ships the NT edition as a separate product." (Yegulalp,1997) Another advantage to the Norton AntiVirus software is the installationprocess; it is not difficult, and several options are provided for the user.Norton AntiVirus can load live protection and allow the user to create arescue disk set. The rescue disk set backs up the system, allowing the userto boot and recover from a virus attack. ("Hackers," 1997) The PC-cillinsoftware is very protective also. "Upon installation, PC-cillin immediatelymakes sure its own files are clean, since an infected antivirus program ispowerless to prevent further infection." (Yegulalp, 1997) This program alsooffers

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