Monday, 10 September 2012

Informatics Viruses, the Liberian IT Malaria

Contributed by Guillaume Foutry

I have always found malaria to be a scary disease: there is no cure, you have to be careful all the time with mosquitoes and even if you got it once you can catch it again. Let alone mention that an awful lot of people die from it every year (According to the WHO 655 000 deaths in 2010, mostly among African children).

Unfortunately, working in the IT sector in Liberia, I feel viruses are the digital equivalent of malaria: they are widespread, easily transmitted through USB sticks that you plug into a computer and stay hidden on your machine for a while. But when they strike, they can freeze your computer, damage the hard drive and destroy your files forever.

At NATC, working with organizations of all sizes in Liberia, we have a great exposure to viruses’ issues on computers and servers. Again, the parallel between malaria and informatics viruses can be extended to the treatment: prevention is by far the best thing to do.

Here is what NATC recommends:
  • Install an antivirus software on your computer: We recommend you to use Norton Antivirus
  • Keep your anti virus up-to-date: this is as important as having the antivirus itself. If you do not update it regularly, your antivirus will not be able to detect and destroy the latest viruses
  • Do not plug USB sticks on your server: USB sticks are the most common way of virus transmission
  • Do not open emails sent by unknown contacts: they might contain malware. Just delete them
  • Do not click on links that you do not know what they link to
  • If you have a Mac, get an antivirus: even if your own computer might not be infected because it is not a Windows OS, you might transmit the infection to other computers.
If you suspect you have a virus on your computer, activate your antivirus and let it scan your computer. It should identify the virus and deal with it. If you still experience issues, please contact us and we will be more than happy to “cure” your computer.

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