all heard horror stories about the damage a
computer virus can do to your computer and many of
those stories are true.
The good news is that you can protect your
computer with a little thought and preparation.
The first thing to be aware of is that there are
people out there that rejoice at the idea of
causing as much trouble, inconvenience and damage
as possible. Which means that you need a good anti
virus program. There are the big names that you
pay for initially and think you have the best and
they do come pre installed on new machines. I have
noticed that many people didn't realize that they
only got free updates for a limited time. After
that you were only protected up to the time the
software expired and any new virus that came out
after that date was a threat. You could subscribe
to the updates and pay the fee of course and stay
There are other programs out there. The one I like
and use myself is AVG
AntiVirus. The software has a free version
for personal use and one you pay for. The free one
has worked very well for me and I update it almost
daily and even though I haven't purchased a copy I
would feel comfortable with it if I did.
The next thing is understanding how a virus is
spread! The most common is via an email
attachment: Be aware of what you are opening! If
the email comes from someone you don't know it's a
potential threat! Even if you know the sender be
careful, a virus will send itself out from an
infected machine to addresses in the address book
on that machine and it may fake a from email
address the same way. Many times when a virus is
sending itself out it will put something in the
subject field that won't be the way the person in
the from field would express themselves, if you
know them you should catch that. Bottom line is
that I delete more emails than I read because I'd
rather be safe than sorry. When I do open an
attachment I save it to disk first, AVG scans it
when you save it so I know it's virus free.
Another common way for a virus or spy ware
to spread is by piggybacking on other software
that you download. If you just can't resist the
latest toolbar, file-sharing gizmo, coupon
dispenser or email enhancer, you may be at risk.
Often these and other downloads come with malware,
free of charge. Running a good anti-spy ware
program will reduce your risk.
Next would be when you are on a website and a
window pops up telling you to install and run
something. Unless you are at a site like Microsoft
doing updates or something similar the best advice
is to click NO. I have personally been caught like
that myself so I KNOW it happens and believe me it
can be a mess.
Next would be sharing your drive on a network. If
you don't have to DON'T. The reason being that you
can never speak for someone else and you don't
know if they practice safe computing or not.
Finally there is all that removable media, floppy
disks, cd's, usb hard drives etc. Any file on any
one of them could be infected. Keeping your Anti
virus software enabled and updated should protect
you but YOU make the difference.
One other thing that can help protect you is to do
an online scan. The problem there is it takes some
time especially on a dial up connection. The one I
like the best is at Trend