5 Tips for Preventing Virus Attacks on your Computer By James Bell

In order to avoid paying costly onsite computer repair service fees, here are 5 tips for preventing virus attacks on you computer.

1. Keep your signature files up to date: On most virus removal programs, there is a component that will check for virus signature updates at regular intervals when your computer is connected to the internet. You may either get a prompt to update your signature files, or a status indicator will say that the current signature file is not up to date. You can check for signature updates manually by right clicking on most antivirus icons in the lower right corner of your desktop.

2. Your toolbars on your browser need to be kept at a minimum. Toolbars generally are not a good thing to install. Some toolbars, when installed, are hard to get rid of. One example is Babylon, which is a toolbar that lingers on your computer when you thought you got rid of it. Toolbars can be installed in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and more. Toolbars sometimes come bundled with other software that you install on your computer. Toolbars are stealthy. They get installed in your browser, then suddenly, your whole browsing experience has been hijacked. The next time your computer is infected with spyware or viruses and you’ve got 4 or more toolbars, Eliminate the toolbars, and run a virus scan to see if that eliminated the problem.

3. Do research on new programs before downloading them. Some viruses come in the form of a program that you are downloading from a seemingly friendly internet web site; some programs that say they can magically fix your computer can also cause your system to crash. By researching the name of the web site that provides a download and by researching the name of the exe, zip, tar or whatever file extension it has in Google before you actually use it, you may find that the program has been mentioned as a possible virus, worm, or malware. Some driver downloads, pornographic web sites, and legitimate looking adware removal programs have been known to be viruses in disguise. A Trojan horse is a legitimate looking program that does your computer harm. The AVG antivirus logo has been copied onto Trojan horse programs and users have had a serious virus attack. Virus removal programs such as AntiVirus Live, Advanced Virus Remover are also programs that disguise themselves as legitimate programs. These programs will hold your computer hostage until you pay ransom money. Don’t pay, because the problem will only get worse, and not better.

4. Do virus scans on your computer on a regular basis. A virus scan is very important to do on your computer on a regular basis, but more often than a periodic PC Tune up. It is recommended to do a virus scan at least once a week, if not every day, according to your internet use and the number of critical files on your pc. Kaspersky, Mcafee, Trendmicro all are some of the companies that have a free web scanner that will run on your computer to detect viruses. When you perform a virus scan, your antivirus program searches your system for virus signatures that are attached to executable programs and applications, such as email clients. A virus scanner can search all executables when a system is booted or scan a file only when a change is made to the file because some viruses will change your computer files.

5. Avoid downloading content from P2P file sharing sites. Peer-to-Peer networking, known as P2P, is similar in concept to a browser. It is an application that runs on your PC and allows sharing of files. Napster and Lime wire used to be two of the most popular peer-to-peer application programs, sharing MP3 music files, until they were shut down by the U.S. Justice Department. Today, favorites like Emule, Gnutella, Morpheus, Bearshare, and Kazaa share center stage. There are many virus programs that spread through various P2P networks, so by avoiding downloading P2P software, you will have less problems with malware and viruses. With the massive popularity of P2P file sharing also comes the risks of embedded adware / spyw3are in client distributions. A recent scan by the Center for information security found spyware and pests in Kazaa, Edonkey, Morpheous, and Bearshare. The vulnerabilities included active content and embedded url’s, and vulnerabilities in the media reader. It is suggested that you read the EULA’s or End user license agreements.