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Protection

To Our Valued Customer:

Recently there has been a staggering increase in the number and frequency of spy-ware and ad-ware attacking PC's over the World Wide Web. In many ways this problem has become more significant than viruses. There is no single solution available that will completely protect your PC from these harmful agents.

Currently we are using a combination of 16 (sixteen) different software programs to remove better than 99% of spy-ware, ad-ware and viruses. Even though we update the databases of these software daily, there is the opportunity for a yet to be identified harmful agent to remain on your system after we complete the scan and removal process. These instances are in no way indicative of any limitations on the part of our technical staff, but instead are an unfortunate result of an ever changing and emerging threat.

As stated we run up to sixteen programs, from different vendors, to "clean" your drive. Each of these industry leading vendors, collectively employing thousands of programmers, claim that their software will do the job on its own. This unfortunately is not the case and demonstrates how difficult the situation has become.

In addition as we clean the systems some infected files may not be "healable" and have to be removed. This may adversely affect some installed programs causing them to function erratically or not at all. The best way to make absolutely sure your drive is clean and free of harmful agents is to do a complete reload of your Operating System.

For those customers for whom a complete reload is not an option, we will continue to provide the virus, spy-ware and ad-ware scan and removal services we always have with the stipulation that this is not 100% effective and that ACS cannot be held responsible if there is further service required.

Steps You Can Take To Limit Your Potential For Problems:

1)   As a general rule: If it is free, don't use it. There are many ads on the internet claiming your system has a problem or is not running optimally and the download of their software will fix the issue. Unfortunately these downloads will most likely harm your system. This also applies to the online game sites and many other items like Weather Bug, WebShots and Wild Tangent. Bandwidth on the Internet costs money, not to mention the hardware, software and technicians to administer the site. Often this money is recovered through the redirection of your PC to a specific site or sites for which they get a penny per "hit." If you have one or two of these spy-ware agents on your machine it is not usually a big issue. The problem occurs when these open gateways begin to multiply and eventually take over significant percentages of your system resources causing your machine to slow down and in some cases stop working altogether.

2)   Don't open email from people you do not recognize. If you use an email program with a preview pane you should disable it to prevent from automatically opening email. Also watch attachments from those whom you know and trust. Particularly watch for "double extensions" on attached files. An example of this would be if someone sends you a picture with the name "beach." The attachment may read, as an example, "beach.jpg" or "beach.gif." A double extension would read for example "beach.jpg.exe" or "beach.gif.exe." Nearly all double extensions on files are indicative of potential problems. This is especially true if the extension is an ".exe." If you see any file attached to an email with an .exe extension you should be very careful to verify the sender and what they have sent you, before opening / running the file.

3)   Run the programs Ad-AwareSE, Spybot and SpywareBlaster. All systems we load the operating system on or perform a spy-ware and virus removal service are loaded with these software titles. If you do not have these programs you can obtain the freeware versions at www.download.com. You should update and run these programs every few days at a minimum. Keep these programs updated. The best protection software is useless if it doesn't have the proper references to identify the problem files.

4)   We suggest you obtain a copy of the Panda Virus Protection software. This software provides excellent protection without the system resource robbing side effects common with Norton and others. Again, you have to run the web updates on a regular basis to keep this software running at maximum efficiency. There are two versions of Panda. One is anti-virus only and the other includes spy-ware/ad-ware protection and a firewall to keep hackers out.

5)   DO YOUR WINDOWS UPDATES!
They are available at http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com. These must be done every two weeks. A disturbing new trend is hackers reverse engineering updates to create viruses in as little as 19 days.

We at ACS will continually strive to provide the highest level of service possible to keep your systems running optimally. We hope you have found this information helpful and will continue to allow us to be your Information Technology partners.