Good Medicine

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This story first appeared in the March 1997 issue of Entrepreneur. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

What's hot on the World Wide Web

Good Medicine

The bad news about the Net is it's a petri dish for computer viruses that can destroy critical files, even knock your processor into unconsciousness. Every file download exposes you to viruses--and lately evil geniuses have even concocted viruses that hook onto e-mail.

"What the jet plane was for the biological virus, the Internet is for the computer virus," says Rusty DeSantis, a virus expert with McAfee, an anti-virus software company. Viruses aren't just nerd pranks. A recent survey by the National Computer Security Association found that 70 percent of corporate computer networks have been infected--with huge resulting costs in lost productivity and data.

The good news is that prevention is easy and cheap, with the newest anti-viral software upgraded to guard against infection from the Internet. Top choices include Norton Anti-Virus 2.0 (about $70; download a demo at0 http://www.symantec.com) and McAfee's Virusscan Deluxe (about $70; a demo is available at http://www.mcafee.com). Both provide continuous system monitoring and swift virus elimination as well as file repair.

For heavy Net users, there's also McAfee's WebScan (about $29), which integrates into most Web browsers (including Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator). Prevention, not repair, is WebScan's mission--it monitors incoming data, and when it finds suspect files, they're isolated for your later deletion or repair with McAfee's anti-virus feature.

One caveat: McAfee and Norton products don't mix well--if you install both on one machine, crashes are probable. So stick with one company; both McAfee and Norton provide top-grade virus protection.

Headline Hunter

The web is awash with news, and information overload is epidemic among many users. Cut through the clutter with Personal NewsPage (www.newspage.com), a service that creates a free Web newspaper tailored to your interests. Some 20,000 articles from 630 sources are sifted, and only ones that match your specs show up on your "personal newspage." (Tip: Set it up as your browser's home page to start the day with a jolt of pertinent news.)

Even more convenient is NewsPage Direct, a $6.95-per-month newspaper that's delivered daily to your e-mail box. Using the same sources as NewsPage, this e-mail version provides headlines and capsule story summaries pegged to your interests, with an option for full-text retrieval of key stories. Check it out at (http://www.newspage.com).

Know It All

Disseminating new Web tools and information is the mission of Microsoft's Small Business Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/smallbiz), where ongoing features include a technology forum as well as a "small-business barometer" that lets you compare the financial health of your business against industry averages. Another offering is a "book in progress" on advanced guerrilla marketing tips, posted in installments by Entrepreneur columnist Jay Conrad Levinson. Microsoft has committed $5 million to help educate small-business owners about ways to get the most out of a Web presence, and this site's content can be expected to get continually richer.

Contact Sources

Individual Inc., 8 New England Executive Park, Burlington, MA 01803, (800) 414-1000;

McAfee Associates Inc., (408) 988-3832, fax: (408) 970-9727;

Microsoft Corp., 1 Microsoft Wy., Redmond, WA 98052-6399, (206) 882-8080;

Symantec Corp., (800) 441-7234, (http://www.symantec.com).

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