Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Steps in Preventing Computer Virus Attacks

Before you read on, note that this article is meant to help computer users like you learn more about viral infections; it also presents advice on how you keep your PC or laptop secure from intrusions and attacks. What you will read here is derived from multiple sources and is only meant to instruct you on the subject matter at hand; it strives to be impartial and it does not endorse any antivirus product or software.

Every time you hear or see the phrase "computer virus," you come up with images of actual infections or you would recall the frustration that you feel each time your PC or laptop has been infected. You must be concerned given the myriad number and types of malicious software or malware that you can possibly encounter such as worms, spyware, Trojans, viruses, adware, and keystroke loggers. Such malware are capable of entering and disrupting the computer's system and make off with important user information such as account passwords, financial and financial data, and email messages. They can also enable unwanted intruders to do things such as denying you access to your infected PC or laptop, which they can undo only if you pay them a fee. And like their real-world cousins, computer viruses can copy themselves and in the process consume much of your computer's available memory, causing it to bog down or even crash.

There are many viruses that lurk the Internet right now and more that are being created that even the best antivirus solutions are unable to keep track of them. But it always pays to have a good antiviral program set up in your computer, or sign in to one of those websites that offer active virus scanning and elimination services every time you surf the Web. However, doing either one or both of these precautions may not be enough, it is better if you use your computer in a manner that keeps it safe from viruses and other malware. We might carelessly just click open spurious web browser alerts, pop-ups, or emailed attachments that come from unknown persons without thinking of the consequences that come with our action. Some users may reason that since they already have a capable antiviral solution set up in their PCs or laptops, they can do whatever they like and then have the antivirus program deal with whatever issue that comes up. This is wrong; it is always good to have a cautious mindset each time you use your computer. In preventing future viral infections, do take note of the following steps.

• First, get yourself a legitimate and trusted antiviral program by purchasing one or downloading it from a reputable website. Go for established brands like Norton, Avast, Kaspersky, McAfee, Avira, Microsoft, ZoneAlarm, and Panda or try out other lesser-known but equally capable products.

• Next, run the program or have it saved first into a readily serviceable part of your computer system like the desktop or documents file and then run the file from there. Take note of the installation wizard as it guides you through the process. If the wizard asks you to do so, restart your PC or laptop to configure it to the new settings. You can then set up your computer to have it perform thorough or customized scans in its system at regular intervals to identify potential malware infections. You can't go wrong with either option, but is preferable if you set your PC or laptop to do regular thorough scans. It is also preferable if you let your antiviral program update itself on a routine basis to help it keep up with current virus and malware infections. In the same vein, have your Windows or Macintosh computer updated with the latest versions and patches and have it set up so that it can get the newest updates from the Internet every time they are made available. It is also advisable if you get yourself other antiviral products that will supplement your own program and help strengthen your computer's defense against more harmful attacks; programs such as Windows Bit Defender and Zone Alarm can help identify and eliminate elusive viruses and malware. Also, ignore any kind of false alert that suddenly pops up in your desktop or web browser declaring that your computer is in danger of potential virus infections. Always take them down and then just run a complete system check to identify the virus that is causing this problem. Disregard any email message and attachment that was sent to you by unknown persons because they have viruses and other malware embedded in them; opening them will install the malware directly into your computer system. These malware are capable of making off with your sensitive personal and financial data, information which can then be used by shady hackers for their own benefit.

• Another thing to remember is that every time you log in to the Web, duly ignore any dubious pop-up window or notification that urges you to look into ads, try out special offers, and the like. As always, these questionable pop-ups have viruses programmed in them that when activated will redirect you to the advertiser's or creator's website, or lead you to illegitimate and pornographic sites.

• One last thing to remember is to never patronize and use pirated storage media to save information that you got from the Web, be they videos, programs, audio recordings and others. Avoid infected media such as CDs, DVDs, CD-ROMs, and USB sticks and never use them on your PC or laptop as they may have viruses and malware stored within them.

Having a safety-oriented and cautious computing mindset is a sure way to keep your PC or laptop secure from future virus and malware attacks. Never rely on your antivirus to resolve issues that you would have avoided if only you had practiced careful computer and Internet surfing usage in the first place.

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