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The Dreaded Computer Virus

One of the computer user’s worst fears is the computer virus. Viruses have the capability of destroying data, stealing information, and even rendering a computer completely useless. One of the most dangerous aspects of a virus is the fact that they’re so easy to get. There are however some tips and tricks you can do that will help you avoid a virus. This will be a brief overview so feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

A computer virus (or malware) is a computer program that self replicates and installs itself without the user’s permission. They can affect the computer in a variety of ways: steal or corrupt data, take up precious storage space or CPU, spam contacts, and even log keystrokes. The first virus occurred in the 1970s, it was called the Creeper Virus and was created by Bob Thomas. Since then there have been hundreds of viruses that work in hundreds of different ways. Your computer can be exposed to these harmful programs through: downloads, online purchases, email scams, and shady websites.

Now don’t get too worried, I’m going to give you some tips to help ensure you never have to deal with one.

First of all, have some form of antivirus on your computer. Some of the more popular paid antivirus programs would be Norton, Kaspersky, Sophos, or McAfee. Be sure to do a little research before you purchase one as they all have different capabilities by brand but also by type. Some protect your internet exclusively whereas others focus more on the files stored on your computer. If you don’t want to pay for antivirus there are also some free options available to you. Some of which include Avast, AVG and Windows Defender. Again it’s best to do some research to see which fits your needs best. Most of all it’s important to listen to your antivirus. If it warns you about a file or website then it’s best to abide by its suggestions.

So we’ve covered the most important part, which is to have some form of antivirus. A few other things you can do include:

Being careful where you download things; a lot of shady websites will have a virtual minefield of download links with only one being official (hint: it’s usually the link that looks most plain). Most of the time you want to avoid those websites as they’re unsavory to begin with. If you’re ever unsure it’s best not to chance it (most antiviruses give you the ability to scan files before you download them; another good reason to invest in one).

Make sure any purchases you make are from trusted websites. Amazon and other major retailers are usually a safe bet so just keep an eye out for anything suspicious. Are they asking for information that isn’t really relevant to your purchase? Does the site look odd or maybe shoddily done? Look for those warning signs and you can avoid a lot of trouble.

Another trick is to never open email from an unknown sender. A lot of these harmful emails are designed to attract your attention so be wary! Chances are, if it seems too good to be true then it probably is.

These tips may seem simple but they’re also easy to forget. With a watchful eye it becomes much easier to keep your information and your computer safe and if you are unlucky enough to get infected Techies4Me can help.

Julia Nary

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