It only takes a few minutes before an unprotected computer can become infected with a virus, worm, or spyware. Who creates these threats and why, nobody knows. The only certain thing is that the only way to protect your computer is to install special computer security software and establish good habits.
Viruses and worms can cause painful damage to your computer with effects such as crashing your computer, preventing the computer from booting up, causing Windows to become slow and sluggish, and deleting your private data and critical system files from Windows. Computer security software is essential and you can download trusted anti-virus programs from sites such as:
-Norton Antivirus www.symantec.com
-McAfee Virus Scan www.mcafee.com
-eTrust EZ Antivirus www.ca.com
-AVG Anti-Virus www.grisoft.com
No matter what computer security software program you use, it must be updated regularly to protect your computer from the newest viruses. An easy solution is to turn on the program’s automatic update feature, which will automatically download and install new antivirus updates every few days.
If a virus or worm infects your computer you should disconnect from the Internet immediately and launch your computer security software and conduct a virus scan. If the program finds nothing you should check your program to make sure it is updated and download any required updates. If your computer security software does find a virus you will be provided with information on the necessary steps to rectify it.
Spyware is a term describing dangerous programs that sneak into your computer by tricking you into installing them or hiding in other programs you install. You have the option of installing either ‘reactive’ or ‘proactive’ anti-spyware programs to prevent them intruding on your software. Only the ‘reactive’ programs are available online:
-Ad-Aware Free Version www.lavasoftusa.com
-Spybot Search and Destroy www.safer-networking.org
Another area of computer security that needs close attention is your wireless Internet connection. If you don’t take proper precautions your wireless can become an open invitation for thieves to waltz in and steal your data. Place your router in the center of your home which will provide equal coverage throughout your house and prevent the majority of your signal from leaking out the window. Make sure you change the default password to a personalized and also turn the encryption on. The SSID is the name given to your wireless network, if you also change this it will make it harder to someone to locate who you are or where you are located. Finally you should turn off “DHCP” which makes it harder for an attacker to force their way on your network.
When surfing on the Web you can prevent digital threats such as worms and hackers invading your computer by plugging the holes in Windows. You can manually download security patches or you can configure Windows to automatically download and install them for you. Similar to Windows and Microsoft Office, programs (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, and so on) need to be updated with the most recent security patches.
To protect your computer from Internet intruders, it is crucial to use a firewall. Available in hardware and software versions, a firewall acts like a cloaking device to hide your computer from watchful eyes of online criminals. A firewall can also filter the data that enters your computer, control Internet cookies, and warn you when sinister spyware programs try to transmit data about you over the Web. There are numerous, respected brands of hardware or software firewalls to choose from, each of which will probably suit your needs.