Up-to-date antivirus definitions on each desktop will help prevent most viruses, but it can lead to a false sense of security with new, fast moving viruses. As many administrators discovered with MyDoom, a new virus can infect a large number of desktops before they have time to get the antivirus software updated. Removing attachments, including the zip format, from incoming mail is the only way to provide 100% protection.While it's easy for administrators to run an antivirus scanner on their Exchange server, smaller businesses and home users often rely on the email scanning feature found in most desktop antivirus scanners. While email scanning works, it comes with a cost - it slows send and receives, uses more resources, and often causes Outlook to crash. Older scanners use a popproxy to intercept messages and scan them, resulting in send and receive problems.
With all these problems, how important is it to scan mail at the desktop? Keeping in mind that Outlook blocks executable file types and all attachments are saved to a SecureTemp folder before they are opened, a little bit of common sense and your desktop antivirus scanner set on autoprotect eliminates the need to scan mail as it arrives.
- Think before opening attachments you didn't request. Don't open attachments you weren't expecting or are suspicious about, especially if they don't include a message from the sender explaining why the attachment was sent-don't rely only on the virus scanner for protection, as it's only as good as its last update.
- Don't unblock all of the file types Outlook blocks, remove only those types you use often and consider unblocking them only long enough to save the attachment.
- Visit windowsupdate.microsoft.com and officeupdate.microsoft.com regularly.
These three simple steps can and will prevent many virus infections. For added security, use a firewall that renames or removes attachments.