Monday, March 27, 2006

Portable Protection

I returned from Tacurong City last saturday. Inserted my usb drive to transfer files when good old AVG anti-virus warned me that a file was infected with a worm. After healing all the viruses in the usb drive, (there were 24 manifestations of th same virus/worm) I contacted all the people who came in contact with the device, warning them and telling them that they should test their computers for infection.

I felt like a person who contracted venereal disease who had to contact his sex partners, it was embarassing.

Right then, I decided to not let it happen to me again, if I can help it. My first action was to search for a portable anti-virus scanner. The popularity of usb drives has led to the development or re-development of "portable" applications.

Portable applications are programs that one can run or use in a computer without needing to install it first. I say re-development because before the hegemony of windows, most dos applications need not be installed before it can be used.

I already use some of these applications, Foxit PDF reader is a favorite. But I have so far resisted using some portable apps that I regularly use in the office like Firefox because it shortens the life of the usb drive.

A portable anti-virus, will also likely shorten the life of my usb drive, but I feel that protecting my files from viruses is more important.

As it happens, the only virus scanner that can be run in a usb drive without installing is ClamWin Antivirus, Clamwin is an open source antivirus program for windows. Unfortunately, the default installation of Clamwin will not run in the usb drive without some tweaking. Instructions can be found here.

I tested it and it worked, the problem was that the Clamwin files had to be placed in the root drive, it cannot be placed in it's own folder, so it wrecked havoc in my file naming system. Fortunately, I found X-ClamWin via Wikipedia. X-Clamwin can be placed in its own folder and it still works. So this is what I am carrying now.

Portable protection for computer viruses, don't leave home without it.

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