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Part IV: Ground Zero: Securing Your PC A... > Securing Your Standalone PC: Viruses...

Chapter 12. Securing Your Standalone PC: Viruses, Chat, and Encryption

Using applications on your PC poses threats that are separate from blatant attacks by hackers or marketing companies. The data on your computer, which is full of useful things about you, can be a target for destruction by automated attacks. The operating system is one form of protection, and firewalls are another, but when an intruder or automated attack gets past these defenses, you might also need to rely on virus scanning and encryption.

The home user market is the latest testing ground for the virus writers. In the past, it was rather hard to spread a virus quickly because the Internet connections were just not available. With the advent of broadband connections and the use of multiple technologies that allow you to share files and applications, it has become extremely easy for a virus to infect hundreds of thousands of computers in a matter of hours. You, acting as your own system administrator, have to take responsibility for virus scanning at home and keeping up-to-date with the latest releases of the software just as corporate system administrators have been doing for years.


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