Computer Virus Guide

Virus Risk

It won’t happen to me….

Statistically, it could.

The DTI Information Security Breaches Survey 2002 found that viruses were by far the most common form of security breach experienced by UK businesses.

The risk of a computer virus attack is increasing at an alarming level. E-mail service provider MessageLabs saw the number of hostile e-mail attachments triple between 2001 and 2002.

In the early months of 2001, MessageLabs found that 1 in every 1053 e-mails coming through their company’s gateway had a malicious attachment. One year later the frequency was 1 in 325.

The cost of infection

The costs incurred for virus prevention are small compared to the possible costs of dealing with a virus infection. These may include:

  • Removing the virus
  • Catching up on work
  • Lost orders and sales opportunities
  • Loss of reputation

Quick check

If you answer NO to any of the following questions, you need to address the problem. Start by reading the Virus Prevention page or complete a more detailed Health Check to assess your risk.

  • Do you have virus defence software installed on your computer system?
  • If yes, do you scan all incoming e-mail file attachments? Do you regularly update your virus defence software?
  • Do you (and your staff) know how to identify likely sources of viruses?
  • Do you know who to call if your machines become infected?

If you already have virus protection software but answer NO to any of the following questions, you should review the suitability of the software and/or configuration. Start by reading the Virus Protection Software page.

  • Has your software been updated in the last month?
  • Do you subscribe to any virus alert services?

It is important to keep any virus defence software up to date, and make sure that you are aware of any new viruses that are currently in circulation.

However careful you are, virus writers are constantly striving to beat protection measures. It is almost inevitable that some will get through. It is in your best interest to minimise the chances of this happening to you.

This information based on Crown Copyright 2003
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