Everyone has heard about computer viruses. They are a big problem because they are written to spread through email or even from some web pages. The problem comes in when your anti virus software is not up to date so you don't even know. There are a couple of free for personal use pieces of software that I recommend and use for spyware and viruses.
A few years ago a virus was normally passed around on a floppy disk. But with so many people using email, now it is becoming an ever increasing problem.
The first suggestion I would make is, if you don't know the person sending the email...question it. It's a good idea to not open attachments especially from someone you don't know. If you use anti-virus software (you should) keep it updated (I update almost daily), save any attachment to a temp directory and scan it before you ever open it. One of the problems with most email software now is that you can't even delete an email without the code running (you click on it to delete it and the virus tries to run). Your software should look at any file and not allow it to open if it contains a virus.
Even if the email comes from a name you know, be careful because a virus will sometimes fake a sender address. The thing to watch for is, "does it sound like the person?". I have received emails that seemed to be from someone I knew, it just didn't look or feel like the way they would express themselves, so I checked the attachment and sure enough it had a virus.
More Info On Virus and Spyware on the blog
The days when an antivirus took over your PC are long gone. Avast Antivirus is lighter and faster than ever, so you won’t even know that it’s there. Click the link and scroll down the page and select the free option unless/until you decide to purchase it.
PC: Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP SP3, processor: 1.5 GHhz or faster, memory: 512 MB of RAM, screen resolution: at least 1024x768 pixels, disk space needed for installation: 1500 MB, browser: Internet Explorer 6 or higher
Mac: OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion or above, processor: Intel 64bit, 2 GB of RAM, disk space needed for installation 500 MB
Android: 2.2 or above
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