Spyware Protection - Backup Software is the Best Defense Against Spyware and Computer Viruses
Posted by Eric Penfield on: 2006-07-24 16:53:06
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The Worst Case Scenario
Your subscriptions to your favorite anti-virus and spyware software expired 28 days ago. You have been meaning to pull out your credit card and renew. However, you just haven't gotten to it.
Yesterday an e-mail, SPAM really, hit your inbox with an interesting by-line on the latest natural disaster. You click on the innocuous looking link. The next thing you know, Internet Explorer doesn't quite work correctly, followed by a failure of Windows Explorer, followed by your PC running really slow. You have just been hit with spyware! Next thing you know, your PC will not boot and you are dead in the water.
This Whole Scenario is Preventable
In this example (which is played out dozens of times every day) the user did not keep his/her software counter measures up to date. There are some extremely top shelf software products available which do a simply wonderful job of keeping up with the latest spyware and virus threats. In fact, by employing several similar products you can often catch threats with one product which was not neutralized by another.
However, there are no guarantees here! A variety of circumstances may result in a threat to your PC. Depending solely on software counter measures (e.g. anti-spyware, anti-virus software) is only part of the story. You can actually take your destiny and digital protection in your own hands and add another layer of protection.
Software Backup- Your Own Version of Digital Time Travel
The two approaches available are:Data Backup
Data Backup refers to making a copy of your valuable files, personal and business information on some other media that is physically separate from your computer. A myriad of products and services exist for storing this information including USB drives, DVDs, CDs, external disk drives, network drives, archiving services and even the humble diskette.
However, you must really think through all of the information contained on your computer that you want to save if your PC became unusable including:Files from software applications like Word, PowerPoint, etc
e-Mail rules and SPAM filter settings
Web browser favorites
Customizations of installed software products
Product installation keys
Software installation files
Desktop background images
Image Backup refers to a process where your computer environment is saved. The difference is that in the case of a data backup you may have saved ALL of your valuable information. This is the good news. The bad news is that you have now have to rebuild your personal computer's software:The operating system, complete with maintenance
Customizations that might include your Internet Service Provider settings, preferences, etc
An image backup makes a snapshot of your entire personal computer. The ideal scenario is that you tweak and install all of your software. At the point where things are working just right, you take your snapshot which you store away in a safe place. At this point you also start to regularly make regular backups of your valuable data that has changed since the snapshot has changed.
If you have the misfortune to get nailed by malicious software that cripples your computer, you now have the ability toRestore your computing environment
Restore the most recent copy of your data
You now can keep on trucking with a minimum of disruption. This approach does take a bit of discipline. However, it really does not take a whole lot of time. These backups can be started when you go to bed, and will be completed by the time that you wake in the morning.
The alternative is spending time trying to rebuild your system (if you can find all of the software) and IF you can get your valuable data off of your crippled PC. It's a simple matter of time, money and aggravation. It's your choice...
Eric Penfield is a 20 year veteran of the Information Systems industry. He has worked for several Fortune 10 companies and currently publishes the Naughty Software Blog.
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