As high speed Internet providers wrap that globe in fiber optic cable, it pays to remind ourselves not to repeat the past. Remember, it’s only been ten years since the I LOVE YOU worm crippled computers. In 2004, MyDoom made the news. Computer viruses and worms haven’t made the front page as much recently, but that doesn’t mean we can relax. It was only last year, that the Conficker virus infected an estimated 10 million computers and Gumbler began wrecking havoc as well.
With the near constant growth of high speed Internet services, we do more and more on the web. Consequently, the opportunities provided by high speed Internet services also provides more opportunities for a virus to find you. Sharing music, files or photos; visiting an infected Web site; opening spam email or an email attachment; and downloading free games, toolbars, media players and other system utilities can transmit a virus. These are all things that we do everyday, so it pays to be somewhat cautious. Take notice if your Internet speed slows, and keep your anti-virus software updated. And, make sure it’s turned on! Back-up your computer so you have a clean copy of your data if your computer is infected.
As a reminder to why you need to be vigilant, note that even less harmful computer viruses can disrupt your system’s performance by sapping memory, causing frequent crashes and slowing down your high speed Internet. The most serious viruses will damage programs, delete files, or reformat the hard drive. Others simply replicate themselves or flood a network with traffic, making it impossible to perform any web-based activity.
To be sure, there are pros and cons to having high speed Internet services. With high speed DSL or broadband, you can truly unleash the power of your computer and the web. Just remember to be vigilant so you don’t unleash anything else.