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PC Backup : Warding Off Viruses - A Straightfoward Approach
Posted by Gene Amtower on 2010/4/1 9:20:00 (2317 reads)

Here's how PC Backup proposes you protect yourself from the ever-growing threat of today's viruses...

Viruses in the past were at most a nuisance to us all, slowing down system performance and threatening corruption of the data on your system. However, today's virus threat has become a more serious threat! The creators of today's virus threats are no longer interested in just causing you frustration - they want your money. Here's what you need to know to stay protected.

1. Make sure you have a good virus protection package installed and functioning on your system. Without it, you are vulnerable to any infection that makes it to your doorstep, and they have a number of ways to get to your system if you use your computer for web browsing and social networking. You can pay for anti-malware, but we recommend AVG Free as an alternative to paying for it. It works just as well as purchased software and does a pretty good job - we use it here at PC Backup and are very pleased with its reliability and performance.

2. Keep your virus protection updated with frequent updates from the anti-malware software vendor. They provide updates to virus definitions on almost a daily basis, and you should be automatically receiving these updates just as frequently.

3. Keep your system updated with critical security patches from the Operating System vendor, whether it's Microsoft, Apple, or Linux. New vulnerabilities are constantly being discovered in each of these operating systems, and installing the latest security patches will go a long way towards keeping your system as strong as possible against infection. Think of this step as getting the flu shot for the latest round of influenza.

4. Depending on the anti-virus/anti-malware software you install on your system, make sure it either includes a browser control to filter out identified bad websites or install a separate browser protection filter that checks websites against a database of known bad sites. Many of the search engines now provide some measure of protection against bad links, but adding an additional layer within your browser can identify sites with issues before they cause any harm.

5. Watch for suspicious emails in your Email Client Inbox. While virus protection is important, it is not able to protect you from everything all the time. New threats are constantly being created due to the increased focus on stealing your money, and the virus bad guys are using trickier methods to circumvent modern anti-malware software. Do you part by deleting any suspicious emails before they have a chance to do any damage.

6. Don't click on any links in emails unless you KNOW where they will take you. Emails can look legitimate because they are crafted to fool you into thinking they are from your bank or popular Internet vendors such as eBay or PayPal. Most email clients will show you the link destination if you hover over the link in the email, so take a moment to look at the address of the link. If the address displayed in the email text does NOT match the actual link address (watch closely for extra periods within the path), don't click on it.

7. When using popular social networking sites, be aware that many of the "applications" provided by third parties on those sites are crafted to entice you to use them. Some of these add-on "applications" like Farmville and such can spread viruses to your PC. To be safe, refrain from using them as much as possible.

8. Practice safe web browsing at all times, avoiding typical infection sources from sites with questionable content, such as porn and game sites. This will not protect you from everything, as viruses can also infect legitimate web sites that have not implemented adequate safeguards at the server. However, you can make their job harder by not browsing for content through unknown link sites and directories, which are frequently used for posting links to infections.

9. Avoid popular peer-to-peer sharing applications typically used for sharing free music and video content between application users. While getting this content for free might seem like a great way to save money, you have no way of knowing who is sharing this content. Frequently, the files provided through these peer users are not music and video files at all, but actual virus files that will install themselves as soon as the download is complete. Avoid them and you are shutting down one of the primary infection sources from young adults and teens. At the same time, these applications run in the background and use up enormous amounts of your system resources and Internet bandwidth, so avoiding them helps protect you and make your system run more efficiently.

Taking these steps will not eliminate the threat entirely, but it will go a long way towards avoiding most of the problem. However, if you think you have an infected computer, take immediate action to get it removed. Today's infections don't stop at infecting your computer - they become part of a network of infected computers that are then used by the virus creators for attacks on other Internet users in what is referred to as a BotNet. Your computer becomes a slave (i.e. a Bot) to whomever controls that virus's BotNet.

Many of these viruses are very difficult to remove once they get onto your system, and sometimes it is necessary to erase the entire system clean and reinstall your operating system and programs from scratch. Keep backups of any important data, such as documents, music, videos, and photos on separate media such as CDs and DVDs in case this is necessary.

If you need help with any of these steps or resolving a possible infection, don't delay taking action. As long as your computer is infected, you are helping to spread the problem to other users. Call us at (937) 478-7624 or submit an inquiry through the Contact Us form on this site. We'll make sure you are doing your part of reduce the virus threat for everyone.

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