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Virus-Minilab Threat?


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Shld I be concerned about viruses attaching themselves to my minilab networked to the print heads?  Is this seriously a dumb question?  I have just had to clean out viruses attached to some of my computers introduced by customer stuff through their cards, or my e-mail, maybe, I don't know. I often download from these computers to card/disc and print from them.  Am I transferring an infection to my lab?  I have Norton running on my computers connected to the internet but one computer not connected to the internet seems to have become infected.  Surely this can only come from transfer of data files.  Out of my depth, I'm afaid, and concerned that my mini-lab will crash.  After all, it runs on Windows 2000 and accepting all sorts of memory card data. :o  I thought virus' didn't attach to jpeg files??  

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it's a deep subject, Liz. however, the threat to the lab is minimal.

also the windows environment in your lab is very replaceable.

obviously your antivirus shouls be present on each machine that files (web & otherwise) enter your network through.

the AV should be set to scan files as they are accessed & before they are opened. updates should be automatic & not compromised by out of date software or not updating often enough (use broadband).

the rest of your network is using XP i guess. use it's firewall.

for emails, i believe in using a spamkiller to stop unwanted emails even arriving in your PC.. mailwasher.net is free & does it for me.

if you're ISProvider has a virus/spam detection use it too.

i have to say i've found McAfee better. but others will have different opinions.....

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liz the computer that is not on the network needs to be as there is a new card virus almost every month. we tryed norton but it was hopeless so we changed to avg and it works great that it identifys the virus on any media and you can remove it to the vault and carry on copying the files across without being bothered by the virus.

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Thank you all for your replies.  You are dealing with the computer illiterate here, so Marcus, I guess by "AV" you mean anti-virus.  Thanks, TPRichard, I think I will network this computer now that it has been so badly infected from external sources, and not through internet connection.  Neil, I haven't been happy with Norton for some time.  Seems to cause some problems and not be that effective in picking up viruses but when I've looked at alternatives I get so confused at what is out there on offer.  I tried download a trial of AVG (read on).  And Mr Noritusu, I don't know what you mean by "back up" in this context.

I suppose I'm looking for a magic wand with an AV  :) programme that will just pop up and say "Hey, girlie, this medium is infected!"

So are you all saying when a customer gives me a card or a disc to print I have to pre-scan it?  What do I do with all the cards/discs inserted by customers into the heads attached to my minilab?

Told you I was seriously lacking smarts in this area   (confused1)

Here's how problematic it is for me.  Can't even get by BBand to work efficiently.  Try and download stuff and the server gets reset.  Try and search the web and constantly get cannot find page or some other message that just drives me crazy.  Even trying to get onto this site, use the back button, and I'll get an error message.  Drives me to (40s)  Cordial or course!  So I'd love to download AVG and give it a go but my computer just tells me it has been reset.  I've increased the time out limit but it seems to make no difference.  Gotta get a techie in to fix it I think.

I still don't understand how my minilab can't not be affected by viruses from people's cards or discs when it is a computer driven machine?

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  • 1 month later...


Your belief that your minilab is just a computer driven machine is spot on so your minilab can be affected by a virus if it runs windoze, which most do I think. The fact that you haven't caught one when something else has is probably luck. We were told by our minilab manufacturer specifically not to run an antivirus on our machine as it may cause problems (related mostly to slowing the machine down intollerably). We installed one anyway but have set it to not do anything automatically. Had that for a few years now with no problem.

Some of our satellite computers have flagged viri (plural for virus??) in their time, which tend to come from from people who have card transfers doone in the far east, indian subcontinent or are staying in backpackers hostels where the shared computers are infected. Of course they carry the virus in their card blissfully unaware as it doesn't affect their camera. The anti virus seems to have stopped the file replicating itself onto our machines. The great thing is that you don't notice them until it flags up a problem. IMHO I would install them into everything your customers are likely to put cards into and have it make some sort of loud audible warning if they are self service. Not withstanding that most manufacturers will tell you not to put an anti virus on so that they don't have to sort out a mess if things go wrong.  

There is a windoze bug that does allow a virus to be carried in a JPeg but it was patched so if you update windoze regularly you shouldn't have problem. I've also never seen nor know anyone personally that has seen this virus manifest itself.

Pre scanning on an unconnected computer is one strategy but is probably inconvenient in speed and PR terms.

I mention for interest what we do, we have a linux box which we download customers images onto and access the internet with. The 'working' computers (minilab, image manipulation and kiosks) are plugged into this via one network card, the internet is into another network card. As Linux is unaffected by windoze viri(??) the virus on a card is never run, and even if it is transfered it is nothing more than a dead file to Linux. If it should so happen to be a Linux virus (extremely rare) it won't affect the windoze computers. We then access the Linux box via the network. It won't stop the JPeg virus on an unpatched machine however. All of the working computers are blocked from accessing the internet

As for broadband, are you using a USB modem or and network connected router/modem? USB can cause all sorts of problems, network connected stuff tends to be far more reliable.

Norton v AVG: From what Neil says about Norton, I think we are in agreement. However before you go changing things, in my experience, I find Norton to be a complete swine to uninstall leaving stuff behind and causing instabilities. If Norton is upto date it should be fine IMHO.

One thing that you might like to consider is to use another Norton product called Ghost. Sort out all your vital machines (eg minilab, kiosk etc) and run this software. What it does is take a snapshot of your hard drives at the time you run the software. If the unthinkable happens and your hardrives get trashed it takes about 30-45 mins to get back up and running (computer wise) as oppose to a whole day reinstalling everything. The manufacturers of your kit may have already done this. Worth checking.


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hi liz the avg we down loaded will auto tell tell us when we put a card in the card reader it will show us when the card has a virus as a pop up as  a avg virus alert saying what the virus  name is and will heal it or put in the vault.

we are running xp pro on all computers as it give you more control over the secuity of the systems

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