: Each week vnunet.com asks a different expert from the antivirus world to give their views on recent virus and security issues, with advice, warnings and information on the latest threats. This week's expert is Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at UK-based Sophos.
Every week, Sophos sees something like 150 new computer viruses. The good news is that you don't - the vast majority of viruses are never encountered 'in the wild' by businesses.
Of course, there are a small number of new viruses that are encountered by users all the time and that's why it's important to keep your antivirus software up to date.
A Russian antivirus company this week trumpeted the discovery of the JER bug. Panic ensued as people read reports that a computer could become infected just by its user surfing the web. The truth is less alarming, however.
JER has not been seen in the wild, was only ever seen on one website (at Geocities, which has since been closed down), and was only capable of infecting users if they chose to ignore the 'Unsafe Script' warning their browser threw up.
Companies should apply common sense regarding the security of their data, and set their browser security settings to high to help avoid malicious applets and scripts.
The good news is that antivirus software does not care if the virus arrives via a floppy, a CDRom, an email attachment or a website. If kept up to date, it can protect against viruses no matter how they arrive at the desktop.
Last Monday's Panorama programme investigated the shady world of hackers and virus writers. Is it just me, or do others agree that there is a real danger of cyber criminals being glamorised in their shadowy back bedrooms, huddled over their monitors and scratching their Swampy-like goatee beards?
The investigation did bring to light one disturbing trend, however. More than 50 per cent of people in the Philippines think the country should be proud that the Love Bug was written there. What kind of message does that give kids of today? Write a virus and become a national celebrity?
And what of the Love Bug itself? Even though its suspected author has been charged, it continues to spread. Research published by Sophos this week showed it was the third most commonly encountered virus during June, with Kakworm in first place and the Life Stages worm a close runner-up.
Next edition of Bug Watch: 14 July
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