Viruses and other threats
In this day and age, there are more and more internet threats popping up every day. You have to be careful which sites you browse, and ensure your security software is up to date and active. Here is a list of threats are circling the internet:
Like a biological virus, a computer virus is something you don’t want to get. Computer viruses are small programs or scripts that can negatively affect the health of your computer. These malicious little programs can create files, move files, erase files, consume your computer’s memory, and cause your computer not to function correctly. Some viruses can duplicate themselves, attach themselves to programs, and travel across networks. In fact opening an infected e-mail attachment is the most common way to get a virus.
Trojan horses are software programs that masquerade as regular programs, such as games, disk utilities, and even antivirus programs. But if they are run, these programs can do malicious things to your computer.
As the name implies, this is software that “spies” on your computer. Nobody likes to be spied on, and your computer doesn’t like it either. Spyware can capture information like Web browsing habits, e-mail messages, usernames and passwords, and credit card information. If left unchecked, the software can transmit this data to another person’s computer over the Internet.
Adware is free software that is supported by advertisements. Common adware programs are toolbars that sit on your desktop or work in conjunction with your Web browser. They include features like advanced searching of the Web or your hard drive and better organization of your bookmarks and shortcuts. Adware can also be more advanced programs such as games or utilities. They are free to use, but require you to watch advertisements as long as the programs are open. Since the ads often allow you to click to a Web site, adware typically requires an active Internet connection to run.
So how do I stay protected?
There are some basic methods to greatly reduce of having your system infected:
- Be sure do a full back up of your system on a regular basis. The best way to clean up an infected file is to replace it with an original non-infected file. Not to mention the grief a current back up will save if a virus takes your system completely down. It’s also a good idea to keep more than one set of backup in case the current one is infected before the virus is detected.
- Always use an anti-virus software program, one with both an on-demand and an on-access scanner. You’ll want to look for one that has a fairly complete database of viruses and that is updateable. New viruses are produced daily, so it’s important to have software that can detect the latest threat.
- Update the virus database in your anti-virus program regularly (each month or by the direction of the manufacturer).
- Know that the only way a virus spreads is either by launching an infected file or by booting an infected disk. You can not get a virus by simply being online or by reading e-mail. You have to download and launch an infected file before it will spread. Therefore, do not launch any unsolicited files sent via e-mail.
- Using an updated anti-virus program, scan all new software for viruses before installing them on your hard drive. Even shrink-wrapped software from major publishers has been known to contain viruses.
- Be aware of hoaxes. To increase mass hysteria, there have been many stories conjured up and spread by unknowledgeable users. For a list of known hoaxes check out the following site:http://www.symantec.com/business/security_response/threatexplorer/risks/hoaxes.jsp
This is only a brief list of tips, for more advice or assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us!
Here is a list of recommended antivirus providers: