A computer virus is a computer program that can replicate itself and spread from one computer to another. It usually loads itself into your computer system when you run a program to which it has attached itself. From the computer system, it’ll then reproduce itself, much like a biological virus.
You can protect yourself against viruses with a few simple steps:
- Never double-click on an e-mail attachment that contains an executable (.exe). Attachments that come in as Word files (.DOC), spreadsheets (.XLS), images (.GIF), etc., are data files and they can do no damage
- Arm yourself with an Anti-virus software to suit your needs. If you do not have protection against viruses installed on your computer, you will without a doubt, get a virus surfing the internet.
- Turn your Windows Firewall on
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- Turn On Windows Updates
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- Avoid “Suspect” websites. Most importantly, this means stay away from pornographic and gambling sites.
- Only open email from people you know and when viewing attachments, always save the file to your hard drive first and then have it scanned by your antispyware software. This will ensure that the file is clean before you open it.
- Never, ever, under any circumstances, click on security or warning pop-ups. This is the most common method hackers use to get you to install their malicious software for them, and that is by bombarding you with fake “Security Warning” or “Spyware Warning” pop-ups.
- Stay away from non-legitimate news sites. Another method hackers are using these days is by following the hot news stories and then putting up numerous fake websites that promote their malicious software. So if you are searching for news about the latest celebrity or whatever it may be, make sure you only visit a trusted website. If you haven’t heard of the site or if it sounds funny, don’t visit it. Stick to what you know and have used before.
- Don’t play games on Social Networking sites like Facebook or MySpace without antispyware protection. Some of the games on these popular sites have been known to install suspicious software on computers so if you do play games on any of these types of networking sites, make sure your antispyware software is on and running.
- Stay away from file sharing sites and torrent sites. The files and torrents you find on places like Kazaa, Limewire, The Pirate Bay, etc. are all loaded with viruses and spyware (not to mention many are illegal). Your best bet is to stay away from these entirely.