Virus Protection For Your Computer
One of the worst feelings you can have is that sinking dread when you realize that your computer has been infected with a virus. If it has happened to you, you know the frustrating hours that you can spend trying to sort it out and “disinfect” your computer. So how can you get reliable virus protection for your computer, and what steps can you take to reduce the risks?
Most computers these days come pre-installed with some form of Firewall and Anti Virus program. Generally speaking, most people that get infected with a malicious virus have either clicked on something or downloaded something containing a virus.
So what types of things to you need to be careful of?
One common way people get a computer virus is by clicking on a link in an email. This could even seem to come from someone that you know. However, if anything seems strange about the email, even if it is from an address you recognize, be safe and don’t click it! Typical subject lines or emails are “hi!!!!” or “Check out these photos from last night”. Sometimes the emails can look like they are from legitimate companies such as your bank, or Ebay, but are just trying to get your login information (called phishing). If emails are legitimate, they NEVER ask you to enter confidential or account information by email. If in doubt, never click on the link in an email, type in the site’s address manually. Hackers are very clever at making these “fake” sites look legit.
Another common way that people get a computer virus is by clicking on online links. Most ads that pop are are perfectly ok, but I am always wary of big flashing banners saying “Congratulations! You have won an iPad” or “WARNING! Your computer is infected with a virus. Click here for a free scan” or “You are the One Millionth Visitor. Click to claim your prize!”. Of course, dating sites, pornographic sites, gambling sites etc are notorious for “dodgy” links, so avoid these sites altogether.
One more way we will look at here is downloading images, videos, music or software. These downloads can also be infected with a computer virus. Again, only download from sites that you know to be legitimate. If in doubt, Google the program or site with the word “scam” in the query and see if anyone else has had problems. Be careful of “Peer-to-peer” sharing sites as well. Leaving aside the questionable legality of downloading music and videos from these sites, they also leave the door open for downloading something with a virus.
Of course, this is just a very brief review of some ways to avoid getting a computer virus in the first place. For more tips and advice, download our FREE Ebook here.
If you suspect that you are infected, what should you do?
There are a number of ways to deal with an infection. The easiest way is to run a scan using your Anti-Virus software. Generally these programs (if kept up to date) recognize possible threats, and are able to fix them.
There are also other great free tools out there – one that I like to use is “Hijack This”. You can download the tool from www.hijackthis.de or from other reputable download sites such as FileHippo, MajorGeeks or others. Once you have done a scan, you can enter the results of your report into the Hijack This site, and see if anything installed on your computer is potentially dangerous.
There is so much information out there that we can’t cover it all in this short article, but having another laptop, computer or mobile device on hand that isn’t infected could be very useful – Google your issue or virus name (if you know it), and there will likely by hundreds of step-by-step instructions on how to fix your computer. Again, it is only advisable to follow advice from reputable forums and sites, and if you are fairly comfortable with your computer. If in doubt, there are usually local experts who can help you out for a small fee.
For more great tips and advice, download our free Ebook! (coming soon)
Keep up to date with our blog too, as we will have regular posts reviewing some of the top virus protection software out there, as well as more help and advice on virus protection and staying safe online!