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Protecting Your Laptop from Viruses

Senin, 24 September 2012 | komentar (5)

What it does: Prevents certain malicious programs from infecting your computer.
What it protects against: Viruses, worms, Trojan Horses. These programs set up operation on your computer, doing a number of nasty things, such as Destroying random files on your hard drive.

Storing pornography on your hard drive and using your computer to distribute those images.

Scanning your hard drive for valuable information, such as passwords, bank account numbers, or credit card numbers.

Taking over your computer to launch viral attacks on other computers on the Internet.

Taking over your computer so that spammers can spew out bulk e-mail.

Any number of other hideous, horrible things!

The background: In the olden days, it took an infected floppy disk or CD to give your computer a virus. That may still happen today, but most likely a virus infects your computer through an e-mail attachment.
To protect yourself against this scourge, you need to run antivirus software. You need to run it all the time. You need to use this software to protect your computer.

Scanning for viruses
Windows XP doesn't come with its own virus scanner. You have to get a third-party virus scanner, such as the Norton AntiVirus or McAfee's VirusScan. Other antivirus programs to consider include

You can use these programs in two ways:
Actively: To actively scan for viruses, the antivirus program does a complete scan of memory, then the hard drive, then files on the hard drive. Everything is checked against a database of known viruses.
Passively: The antivirus programs uses the passive virus scan as your computer receives files. The program individually scans and checks each file coming in against the virus database.

Obviously, each antivirus program does things differently. Refer to the documentation that came with your antivirus software program to see how things work.
Sometimes it helps to have and run two different antivirus programs. Not at the same time, but perhaps run one first, shut it down, then run a second antivirus program. The second one may catch some things that the first one misses.

Yes, some antivirus programs require a paid subscription. You don't pay for the program, but rather for accessing and updating the antivirus database. But the cost of the subscription is worth it! Don't delay in updating your antivirus database!
Though most of the Web-based virus-scanning utilities are legitimate, you may want to avoid using them. Only trust the software if you're darn certain that it's okay; otherwise, who knows what kind of program you're letting into your computer?

Good advice to help protect you from the viral scourge
Viruses happen to good people, but they also happen to idiots who don't heed good advice (such as these pearls of wisdom):
Don't open unexpected e-mail file attachments, even if they appear to be from someone you know and trust. If you weren't expecting anything, don't open it!

Especially avoid any file attachment with these suffixes, or filename extensions: BAT, COM, EXE, HTM, HTML, PIF, SCR, VBS.
A plain text e-mail can't contain a virus. But a virus can sneak in by using an e-mail signature or attachment!
If you don't open the attachment and just delete the message, you can probably prevent your computer from being infected.

If your e-mail program automatically saves e-mail file attachments, then delete those attachments from the folder that your program saves them in.
Microsoft's Outlook Express is particularly vulnerable to e-mail viruses. Consider getting an alternative e-mail program, such as Web-based e-mail.
The best protection against nasty programs in e-mail is to use antivirus software.

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