Readers of this blog ...Today i wanna give you few tips to Safe keeping your desktops and laptops from all the viruses that are wildly waiting to attack your computer with their vulnerablities.
Good to know that these days the viruses don't get shipped with the Cd's or dvd's. And thus it leaves us only to the counter-attack the viruses that are in your pen drives, memory sticks or the memory cards.
I would like to present you the few basics at first and then proceed with the method to prevent viruses from attacking your PC.
- Firstly as everyone suggests...install a good antivirus on your pc or laptop. Norton, McAfee, Avg, Eset Nod32 any one of them will be fine.
- Keep updating your antivirus software regularly.
- Before opening your pendrive do a scan of the pen drive with the antivirus scanner.
- Delete all the files that would be shown as affected.
But as the days go by, and the technology grows... reducing the physical size but increasing the capacity of the pen drives. These days its common to have 2gb, 4gb, 8gb and 16gb pendrives.
Few years back we used to get hard disk of these sizes.
Scanning few mega bytes would not take much of the time, but these days when you have a 8 gb pen drive filled with your office files and you take to a cybercafe near your place for a print out and the guy there starts a scan on the whole pen drive... Believe me its gonna eat up lots of your minutes.
I experienced this when my friend brought the designs of our t-shirt in his 8gb pen drive to the shop where we had gone to give the order, and the guy there started scanning it.
We just required a single file from the pen drive. And in this age where impatience is the new life, its not agreeable to waste time scanning the whole pen drive.
So whats the alternative to scaning the whole pendrive.
Yeah I do have an alternative, But prior to it, let me take you on a walk through, of how the viruses from the pen drive affect the PC's on how so they spread.
When you insert your pendrive into the usb , the windows searches for the drivers and are automatically installed and it displays that the device is installed and ready to use
In the next step it searches for the 'autorun.exe' or "autorun.inf" file which lies inside every pendrive. This is a hidden file which will be in the pendrive by default from the device manufacturer .This file contains the various calls to other files. The windows by its default behaviour runs this autorun file.
So now if there are any virus scripts or any programs like trojan horse, malwares etc... they wil be inside your pendrive. The virus writter just need to edit this autorun file and put a line of code into it so that whenever autorun is called ,it automatically calls the virus script which runs in the background and thus it starts affecting all your files.
And this will happen everytime you plug this pendrive into your usb drive in any of the systems.
- So my first tip is to disable the autorun in your windows.
This is done by editing the groups policies. Go to start > run > type 'gpedit.msc' and press ok
A group policy editor window will popup. As shown below.
Now in this window there are two configurations the computer configuration and the user configurations.
When you click on these the right side partition will show various options which can be enabled and disabled.
Now we need to browse through the path computer configuration> Administrative templates > System . Now scroll down in the right partitions and you will find an option saying turn off autoplay. As shown below.
Double click on the Turn off Autoplay, you will get a popup window as shown below. here the default option would be selected saying its not configured. Change it to enabled and also select All drives in the drop down menu.
Now press Apply and Ok.
Now you need to change the settings in the user configuration. Its very similar to the above process . Go to the path user configuration > Administrative templates > System > Turn off Autoplay . enable it for all the drives.
as shown below.
Press ok and you are done with it. Close the window.
This also has a side effect. For example if you insert your favourite movie DVD. It now doesnot autorun with your DVD software. you need to browse the cd and manually select the files that you want to play.
2. The first one was good to prevent the virus from spreading.But the virus file is still in your pendrive. Usually the name of the virus file will be very similar to your folder names inside the pendrive. You open your pendrive and there is a virus file inside the pendrive ... something like 'New folder'. And you accidently doubleclick on this folder thinking it was your folder but it was actually 'New folder.exe' which runs the virus file.This again affects your computer.
So in this step we will change the folder options such that it shows all the hidden folders.
You go to start > control panel > folder options
In the Folder option window, scroll down and select 'Show hidden files and folders'
3. the third and the last step is to untick the check box saying 'hide the extensions of known files type'. It is just next option below the show hidden files option .This will display the extension of every file in the system. You will feel the difference when you open your mp3 folder where the name of the song is suffixed with .mp3
Now its easy to distinguish between the original 'New Folder' and the 'New Folder.exe'.
Thus after the step 2 and 3 the folder options should look similar to the image below.
Apply it and click on Ok and your are ready.
Thus now you need not be scared that you double clicked the drive as soon as you insert it into the usb drive and the virus will start to spread.
After opening the pendrive you just need to browse only the folders that you know are free of virus and now you dont accidently click into any of the unknown file. You can just delete the New folder.exe file now and similarly other hidden files.
Now you can put your pendrive anywhere , in a cybercafe and you don't need to worry that your pendrive is affected and you need to scan he whole memory now. Just right click and open the pendrive and only copy the files and folders that you created and the rest can be deleted.
Thus you dont need to waste time scanning , you need not waste time thinking that you opened the pendrive without scanning.
This method is safe only if there are few files.
And when every folder is affected in the pendrive, then you obviously need to have a good antivirus scanner to clean all your files or delete the virus.