computer virusA Computer Virus most often infects a computer by e-mail, and uses an email client (Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, etc) to spread. If you need to use an email client (and who doesn’t), download and install the latest security patches. In general, keep your operating system and applications up-to-date and apply the latest patches as soon as they become available. Here are some steps to avoid computer viruses.

  • Eliminate e-mail attachments both when sending and receiving e-mail.
  • Configure Windows to always show file extensions. In Windows 2000, this is done through Explorer via the Tools menu: Tools/Folder Options/View – and uncheck “Hide file extensions for known file types”. This makes it more difficult to for a harmful file (such as an EXE or VBS) to masquerade as a harmless file (such as TXT or JPG).
  • Never open e-mail attachments with the file extensions VBS, SHS or PIF. These extensions are almost never used in normal attachments but they are frequently used by a computer virus or worm.
  • Never open attachments with double file extensions such as NAME.BMP.EXE or NAME.TXT.VBS
  • Do not share your folders with other users unless necessary. If you do, make sure you do not share your full drive or your Windows directory.
  • Disconnect your network or modem cable when you’re not using your computer – or just power it down.
  • If you feel that an e-mail you get from a friend is somehow strange – if it is in a foreign language or if it just says odd things, double-check with the friend before opening any attachments.
  • When you receive e-mail advertisements or other unsolicited e-mail, do not open attachments in them or follow web links quoted in them.
  • Avoid attachments with sexual filenames. E-mail viruses often use attachments with names like PORNO.EXE or PAMELA_NUDE.VBS to lure users into executing them.
  • Do not trust the icons of attachment file. A computer virus often sends executable files which have an icon resembling icons of picture, text or archive files – to fool the user.
  • Never accept attachments from strangers in online chat systems such as IRC, ICQ or AOL Instant Messenger.
  • Avoid downloading files from public newsgroups (Usenet news). These are often used by computer virus writers to distribute their new viruses.

Internet Security is the concern of anyone with an internet connection. If you have downloaded music or images (especially porn) and your computer is running slower than normal and you’re being annoyed by pop-ups; your computer internet security has probably been compromised by advertising software known as “spyware” or “adware“.

Many computer users have unknowingly had spyware downloaded onto their computers. Your home page can be changed, or unwanted new sites can appear in your favorites that you never added.

Spyware can seriously affect computer performance and productivity by using your system resources, CPU time, RAM memory, disk space and internet bandwidth, making your PC slower. It can make your computer crash and even shut down automatically. You can either remove each spyware program manually, or use a spyware utility to automatically eliminate the “spies”.

Some parasites can be removed through a computer’s control panel. Just click on “Add or Remove Programs”, find the spyware uninstaller, if it is listed there, and then remove it. However, some spyware can not be eliminated in this manner.

To manually remove the invader, you first have to determine what types of spyware or computer virus have infected your computer. There are free “spy-killer” downloads on the net that will scan your computer and inform you of the names of potentially harmful programs and their location in your computer.

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