A computer virus is software program code which ‘hides’ in other files and when executed can either cause irreparable damage to your computer or (more likely) steal passwords, bank / credit card details and email addresses. It can infect computer programs, data files, computer viruses spread easily between computers through shared files, from the internet and through attachments in email messages.
Viruses are often picked up by pen drives from home or public computers that do not have up-to-date virus protection.
A reputable anti-virus program should install updates at least three to four times a week, and should never be more than two days out of date.
How To Prevent Virus From Infecting Your Computer
There are many ways that a virus can infect your computer. Underneath are some of the ways to protect your computer.
• Don’t open unsolicited email attachments, even if they appear to come from friends or colleagues.
• Always save the file attachment to disk – do not open it immediately, scan the file using your installed Virus checker.
• Ensure that you are running the latest virus protection
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You should always ensure that you have anti-virus software installed and enabled on your computer. This type of software can detect and block viruses before they have a chance to cause any harm. A good anti-virus program can scan for viruses on your hard drive or any program, files, or documents. When viruses are find, it can remove the virus, quarantine it or delete the file safely from your computer.
Your anti-virus software needs to be updated regularly, if possible set it automatically.
Sharing and Downloading Software or Files
If you download software, files or other media from the internet and the source files are infected with hidden viruses, you will easily transfer them to your computer. Downloading software or files with your home computer which may not have the most up to date virus protection, you could infect your home computer. And the virus can be transfer from one computer to another through the use of pen drive. Always scan portable storage device before copying files to or from it.
• To do this, go to My Computer
• right click on the drive icon
• select the ‘scan for viruses’.
When you save a file to your computer, either from an internet download or from another computer, always run a scan on it to make sure it is virus free.
Be extremely cautious of websites that asks you to install a ‘plug-in’.
Various forms of malicious software can be hidden within plug-ins. These have the potential to install a virus or Trojan to your machine which can steal your information like username and passwords to other websites.
Attachments Sent By email
You should not open attachments sent by email from people you do not know and you should always be cautious even if you know who they are from. You should also be especially suspicious of email messages that promise fantastic offers.
Get into the habit of copying attachments to your computer first, rather than just opening them from the email message, this way you can scan the file before opening it. Unfortunately, this check only helps, it doesn’t guarantee protection from virus infected files, but is a simple check which could stop you opening something nasty.
If the sender has said they have sent you a Word document, but the attached file doesn’t look like a Word attachment or had a Word file extension, scan it before opening it. Be cautious about opening files that have two file extensions e.g. myfile.doc.exe and do not run .exe files sent to you as attachments without checking them first.
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