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PC Security - Protecting Computers from Viruses

In 1999, the Melissa Virus brought Internet traffic to a halt for all intents and purposes. It was originally posted in a newsgroup as an attachment of a Word document. Once it infected a computer, it would access the address book, and send itself to the first fifty people listed. Obviously, it didn't take but just a few hours for the online world to feel the effects of this famous virus.

The same was true in 2000 when the ILOVEYOU virus presented itself as an email attachment. Once it was double clicked, it would access the address book and start sending itself out as well. Viruses are still a big part of our world, and a security risk that every computer owner combats regularly.

The two ways that we combat viruses is with the use of anti-virus software and of course by not opening email attachments, or at the very least using extreme caution, even if the attachment is from someone we know as they may be infected without realizing it. We can also avoid viruses by not participating at file exchange websites.

You absolutely must have anti-virus software. Do not depend on free online virus scan services, as these can only check to see what is presently on your computer, and can do nothing to prevent nasty viruses from breaking through your defenses. An online virus check does not protect you. Your anti-virus software will have it's own virus checker to see if you presently have any viruses, and will protect you from future viruses as long as you keep it up to date.

Most of the virus scanners available today will automatically update their definition files. If yours does not, it is up to you to do this, however, it is a good idea to look for that automation feature. The actual software program may need to also be updated to the newest version on a regular basis.

While your anti-virus program will offer you protection, do not become lax in your efforts to keep your system safe. Sometimes, viruses do sneak past your defenses! Remember that human beings write anti-virus programs and the definitions that go along with them. When a new virus emerges, these humans must first be made aware that it exists, and then rewrite the definitions for that virus, and then your software must acquire those new definitions. As you can see, somebody has to get the virus before it can be defended against.

While most viruses come to us by way of downloads, file transfers, and email attachments, you can also get viruses from floppy disks, CDs, and even from DVDs. If a friend burns you a copy of a CD that you like on his computer and brings it over to your house, he may have inadvertently have also copied a virus that he was not aware of from his computer and brought that to your house as well!

Use common sense when it comes to computer security, and always be aware of the risks. Know what you are downloading, and who you are downloading it from, and always remember that no matter how well protected you are, there are still risks out there!

  PC Security: Index
  PC Security: Internet Browsers
  PC Security: Spam
  PC Security: Stopping Spam Part 1
  PC Security: Stopping Spam Part 2
  PC Security: Spam Scams
  PC Security: Email Security and Spam
  PC Security: Email Security
  PC Security: Computer Viruses
  PC Security: Protecting Computers From Viruses
  PC Security: Worm Viruses
  PC Security: Trojan Horse Viruses
  PC Security: Rootkits
  PC Security: Removing a Virus
  PC Security: Virus Hoaxes
  PC Security: Server Viruses
  PC Security: Home Network
  PC Security: Cell Phone Viruses
  PC Security: Spyware
  PC Security: Firewalls Part 1
  PC Security: Firewalls Part 2
  PC Security: Parental Control Software
  PC Security: Malware - Spyware and Adware
  PC Security: Data Backups
  PC Security: Pop Up Windows
  PC Security: Safe Public Computer Use

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