Tip

Shred it!

Most antivirus programs do not offer 100% protection against viruses, Trojans, and worms. They may flag these programs, but are unable actually to fix the problems. This is certainly true of recent programs like the KLEZ virus, which works by creating files with many different names and inserting those files into attachments of messages it creates using your address book. If you delete those programs, or have your users delete them, you have NOT deleted the virus from the system. You may continue to get pop-up messages from your virus checker that a virus exists in the Recycler.

The best way to eliminate the threat that viruses in deleted files pose is to use a program that overwrites these files. One such program is a shareware program called

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Shred, which can be registered for $14. Although its primary use is in overwriting sensitive documents that you no longer want to leave on your hard drive, this secondary use of shredding the Recycle Bin is very valuable. Shred takes multiple passes, overwriting your documents with various bit patterns. The result not only renders sensitive information unrecoverable, it also permanently destroys any malicious code that it may contain.

Shred is not unique, there are many other programs that perform this overwriting function: Eraser 5.3, Norton Utilities, and the cleanup function of SystemSuite contain an overwrite function. But whichever eraser utility you use, make certain that you permanently disable any of these nasty programs that come your way.


Barrie Sosinsky is president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield MA). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.


This was first published in October 2002

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