Virus & Spyware Info
What is a computer Virus?
Computer viruses are software programs deliberately designed to interfere with computer operation, record, corrupt, or delete data, or spread themselves to other computers and throughout the Internet, often slowing things down and causing other problems in the process.
Just as human viruses range in severity from the 24-hour flu to the Ebola virus, computer viruses range from the mildly annoying to the downright destructive and are constantly evolving and becoming smarter. New computer viruses are now released on an almost daily basis. The good news is that with an ounce of prevention and a little knowledge, you are less likely to fall victim to viruses and you can diminish their impact.
How do viruses work?
Basic viruses typically require unwary computer users to inadvertently share or send them. Some viruses that are more sophisticated, such as worms, can replicate and send themselves automatically to other computers by controlling other software programs, such as an e-mail sharing application. Certain viruses, called Trojans (named after the fabled Trojan horse), can falsely appear as a beneficial program to coax users into downloading them. Some Trojans can even provide expected results while quietly damaging your system or other networked computers at the same time.
Although it's good to be aware of these different types of viruses and how they work, what is most important is that you keep your computer current with the latest updates and antivirus tools, stay current about recent threats, and that you follow a few basic rules when surfing the Internet, downloading files, and opening attachments. Once a virus is on your computer, it’s type or the method it used to get there is not as critical as removing it and preventing further infection.
What can I do to protect my computer?
- Use common sense.
- Do not open suspicious looking email.
- Avoid porn sites.
- Avoid programs such as AOL instant messenger, MSN messenger, basically ANY instant messaging programs.
- Use a good anti virus program and keep it updated daily.
- Scan your system at least 1 time a week.
- Do not open any attachments unless you are absolutely certain they are valid and you are expecting it.
What do we recommend?
Everyone at Micro Excell uses AVG anti virus by Grisoft. They have a free version that will work fine for your average home user. For businesses they have a pro version that is very reasonably priced. They also have Server versions and AVG with Firewall. All offered at very competitive prices.
Some other good anti virus programs are:
- Trend Micro: www.trendmicro.com – 30 day free trial to try before you buy
- Panda Software: www.pandasoftware.com - Panda Cloud Antivirus Free
- Avast: www.avast.com – Free to home users
For the more advanced computer user: www.comodo.com has a combination anti-virus and firewall that is also free to download and use.
What do we not recommend?
Normally we work on 30-40 computers a week, 50% of those computers have major virus, spyware and adware problems. I would estimate that 80% of the computers that are infected have either McAfee or Norton anti-virus installed on them, therefore we do not recommend the use of either of those programs. They have a tendency to interfere with things they should not while at the same time allowing the damaging things to get through.