How to prevent Virus/Malware/Spyware

Make sure your computer is running a good antivirus software program which is updated regularly with the latest definitions. The most common antivirus software programs are:

  • Symantec (Norton)
  • McAfee
  • Panda
  • Bullguard
  • Avast
  • AVG
  • Bitdefender
  • Kaspersky
  • ESET NOD32
  • F-Secure
  • Windows Defender (built in to Windows 8/10)

If you are running Windows 10, i would recommend sticking with Defender as most third party antivirus software programs can cause some stability issues.

What is a computer virus?

A computer virus is a small software program that can spread from one computer to another and interfere with your computers operation. A computer virus can corrupt or delete data on your computer, use an email program to spread the virus to other computers, or even delete everything on the hard disk.

Computer viruses are frequently spread by attachments in email messages. Therefore, never open an email attachment unless you know who has sent the message or you are expecting the email attachment. Viruses can be disguised as attachments of/or funny images, audio and video files. Computer viruses also spread through downloads on the Internet. They can be hidden in pirated software or in other files or programs that you might download.

What is a trojan horse?

A trojan horse is a malicious software program that has the ability to hide inside other programs. It enters a computer hidden inside a legitimate program, such as a screen saver. Then puts code into the operating system that enables a hacker to access your infected computer. Trojan horses do not usually spread by themselves. They are spread by viruses, worms, or downloaded software.

What is spyware?

Spyware can be installed on your computer without your knowledge. These programs can change your computer’s configuration or collect data and personal information. Spyware can track Internet search habits and can also redirect your web browser to a different website than you intend to use.

What is a worm?

A worm is computer code that spreads without the users interaction. Most worms begin in email attachments that infect a computer when they are opened. The worm then scans the infected computer for files, such as address books or temporary webpages, that contain email addresses. The worm uses the addresses to send infected email messages, which then can frequently mimic the “From” addresses in later email messages so that these infected messages seem to be from someone you know. Worms then spread automatically through email messages, networks, or operating system vulnerabilities, frequently overwhelming those systems before the cause is spotted. Worms aren’t always destructive to computers, but they usually cause computer and network performance and stability problems.

What is rogue security software?

Rogue security software programs try to make you think that your computer is infected by a virus which will then usually prompt you to download or buy a product that removes the virus. The names of these products frequently contain words like Antivirus, Security, Shield, Fixer, or Protection. This makes them sound legitimate. They frequently run right after you have download them, or the next time that your computer starts. Rogue security software can prevent applications, such as Internet Explorer, from opening. Rogue security software might also display legitimate and important Windows files as infections. Typical error messages or pop-up messages. These can also be of audible warnings telling you that your computer has a virus. If you get a popup dialog box that issues a warning, you can press ALT + F4 on your keyboard to close the dialog box.

The best precaution is to shutdown the computer and if you are unexperienced and uncertain what to do, i would recommend taking your computer to your local computer repair shop where they can remove the viruses.

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