The term "computer virus" originally applied
to a self-replicating, sometimes destructive, program segment that attached itself
to a legitimate executable program. Over time, the term has come to refer to a
wide range of computer-based activities which exploit a variety of potential transmission
and/or replication mechanisms. The primary point is that a virus, whatever specific
type it might be, is a program running on your machine the purpose and consequences
of which you do not know. In effect, the integrity of your machine, and possibly
your CIO network, has been destroyed.
Donít be fooled into a false sense of security. Here are
some facts you need to know.
- Defensive behavior on your part is an integral part
of CDCís anti-virus posture.
- An entirely new computer virus can sweep through a network
and never be detected by the anti-virus software. That is why so much effort
is put into keeping virus patterns up to date and watching for the emergence
of new viruses.
- Many new viruses are discovered each month.
- While some viruses are quite destructive to information
stored on the infected device, or cause denial of services due to the load
on the system, these may not be the most dangerous. Rather, viruses that enter
quietly, sending information to an unknown destination and becoming smarter
by downloading new instructions pose much more complex problems which may
have far wider consequences than previous viruses.
- Handheld devices and cellular phones are not immune.
- Unless you have written authorization to do so, you
are not authorized to change the settings on your virus scanning software.
Unauthorized changes are a serious violation of policy, and technical staff
are required to report them to the CIO ISSO, when discovered.
What is often overlooked in computing the cost of
a computer virus is the potential for loss of customer confidence, lost of productivity,
missed deadlines and increased stress.