Here are my thoughts on the latest virus threat, and the fact that some people will still get infected.

Listen to the podcast: Another Day, Another Panic.

It’s happening again. The press is full of warnings about some new virus that has presumably already infected hundreds of thousands of machines, and that is set to cause massive havoc on February 3rd (and the 3rd of every month thereafter) by erasing certain types of files from those machines.

Referred to by many names, the “Kama Sutra” worm masquerades, as usual, as an e-mail attachment with promises of porn of some sort.

The good news is, of course, that the anti-virus companies are prepared, and most all of the reasonable anti-virus software packages, if kept up to date, will simply eradicate this pest as yet another virus. Life goes on.

So why all the hoopla?

There are two assumptions in that good news. Two invalid assumptions:

First, that everyone actually is running anti-virus software of some sort. The fact is that many machines are still unprotected. It’s getting better, but I still get questions on a daily basis where the answer boils down to “you should’ve been running anti-virus software.”

Second, and more troubling, is the phrase “if kept up to date.” There are many people out there that don’t realize that simply installing and running an anti-virus solution may not be enough. Or, perhaps even more common, after running with their one-year free update subscription that came with their machine, they simply let it lapse without re-subscribing or installing an alternate solution.

The scary part about each new virus is not that is exists, nor that it can cause damage – we should pretty much expect that by now. The scary part is that even with the history of virus threats, the news surrounding some of the more sensational ones, and the vast array of tools both free and commercial at our disposal – people still get infected.

In this latest case, those people stand a good chance of losing valuable data.

If they’re not running up to date anti-virus software, what are the chances, do you think, that they happened to back up their data?

What I know is that on February 4th, many will start.

Related:

Article Useful? [Digg It] [Bookmark It on Del.icio.us]

[tags]security,podcast,virus,anti-virus,ask leo,leo notenboom,kama sutra worm,hoopla[/tags]