Get The Bugs Out

On The Attack

Symantec AntiVirus for Macintosh (SAM) is easy to install and provides the option of running the program on a PowerPC. Symantec enables you to scan your drives for viruses during installation, and if there are any infected files, the program repairs them.

Internet and online users will appreciate SAM's ability to automatically check files for viruses when they are downloaded and to scan commonly compressed files (such as Stuff It, Disk Doubler and so on). SAM also checks applications for viruses every time you run them, checks floppy disks when inserted in a drive, and monitors your Macintosh for suspicious virus activity. You can even set up the program to perform scheduled virus scans.

Users designate a folder on the desktop as a "SafeZone"; all downloaded files are then directed there for assessment. If SAM detects a virus, it deletes any record of it--saving your machine from potential disaster. Of course, you can also manually check files, folders and disks for viruses using a simple point-and-click procedure.

SAM includes built-in alerts that warn you when suspicious activities are occurring in your computer, indicating that viruses may be spreading or damaging your files. Though many of these activities are normal program functions, SAM suggests they be investigated. An alert box will appear and prompt you through the investigation process. Similarly, if the program detects a change to a file since it was last scanned, it will prompt you to investigate.

Because new viruses are constantly being created and distributed, you'll want your anti-virus software to keep up with the times. SAM gives you several options to update your virus definition list, including direct downloads from the Symantec Bulletin Board Service, a file transfer protocol (FTP) site at http://www.symantec.com , and forums on CompuServe and America Online. If you don't have a modem, you can get updated virus definition files on disk.

If your machine is short on RAM (2MB or less), you can opt to install a lightweight version of SAM, called Intercept Jr. This program doesn't monitor your drives for suspicious activities and can't be customized, but it does perform all other basic virus-detection functions.

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This article was originally published in the September 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Get The Bugs Out.

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