Anti-Virus Software (Antivirus Software)
Is your computer running without it?
(also called Antivirus software) should be installed on your computer.
Anti-virus software has now become a necessity to protect your computer against viruses, worms and other types of malicious codes.
Persons with malicious intentions can use the Internet to send viruses that can harm your computer.
What is a Computer Virus?
A Computer Virus is a program or a code that will spread itself by infecting other programs on your computer.
Viruses are created to spread from computer to computer.
Dealing with viruses can be expensive.
Computer viruses will load themselves onto your computer without your knowledge and can do very serious damage to your system such as altering or destroying your files.
These viruses will attach themselves to program files and be activated whenever these programs are run.
Computer Viruses can exist by being:
- Active in your computer memory.
- Laying dormant in your files and boot records.
A computer virus has a three-phase existence:
1) Infection: - The virus infects your computer file. Some of the ways that a virus can infect your computer are:
- Visiting a malicious Web site.
- Opening an infected attachment via email.
- Via a diskette (you might have borrowed one!)
- A software that you downloaded (be careful of free software!).
- Install antivirus software to protect your computer
This will help to protect your computer against viruses, worms and other types of malicious codes.
Viruses can infect your program files such as your operating system, spreadsheets, word processing and corrupt your files and data.
Viruses cannot do any physical damage to your disks, your monitors or keyboards; it can only infect the programs which control your monitor display or keyboard. Your write-protected disks cannot be infected.
2) Virus Detection: - If the virus is detected, your software should 'go to work' and move the infected file to 'quarantine' to prevent problems. Always keep your antivirus software enabled and up-to-date!
3) Virus Recovery: - Your virus removal program should be used to remove viruses. If the virus is not removed, it will continue to infect other files with the possibility of damaging the data on your disks.
There are two types of antivirus software available:
- Generic Virus-Detection Software
- Scanning Software
Generic Virus-Detection Software:
This monitors your computer looking for behavior patterns, which are common to viruses, and also checks your programs and files for modifications. A previously unknown virus can be picked up by this antivirus software.
The Heuristic Technology is a generic method of virus detection whereby a set of rules are developed to differentiate viruses from non-viruses.
This is the most used type. Your entire system is checked for known viruses, it examines your incoming files and it warns of infection.
You should look for the following when choosing scanning software:
Compatibility: - Compatible with your hardware and software configuration.
Virus Updates: - You should choose a vendor who provides free daily updates from their Web site. This is because viruses are continuously being created and it is, therefore, very important that your anti-virus software is kept up-to-date.
Round-the-clock scanning: - This anti-virus software is continually running in the background, checking and monitoring your files whenever they are opened, executed or installed.
Email: - Protection when sending and receiving email.
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Make sure that your anti-virus software is properly installed
Check to see that:
- it is configured to give you the best possible protection.
- it is set to scan all your files.
Tips: If it supports the creation of a recovery disk, make one since this disk could be your only hope of recovering from an infection.
Never run more than one antivirus programs at a time since this will be using up additional resources which could result in program conflicts and false virus alerts.
Use your antivirus software:
Scan your entire system if you are loading it for the first time.
You should continuously download software patches:
There are some virus attacks that weaken your software. Vendors are always releasing patches on their website to take care of this.
You need to keep your software up-to-date since new viruses are created everyday.
Your virus protection software should allow automatic updates and you should enable this feature.
Never go online without the latest anti-virus protection. Fast-spreading mass-mailing viruses, worms and Trojans like Mydoom, Bagle and Sasser can easily infect exposed PCs over dial-up or broadband connections, forward themselves to your email contacts and even help remote hackers hijack personal information.
Scan your removable media at all times:
Ensure that all floppy disks, CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, zip drives and any other removable media are scanned before using them. Using an un-scanned floppy disk that has been infected with a virus could result in a boot sector virus.
Only download files from people that you trust:
Your antivirus software should be set to automatically scan all files that you download. Only download from reputable vendors.
Install only legal copies of software on your computer:
Be careful of software that you install since it can be an opening for a virus.
Backup your system on a regular basis:
In case of a virus attack, your files won't be lost.
Write-protect your diskettes:
After formatting, keep your floppy disks write-protected after each use. Have an up-to-date write-protected set of rescue disks to allow your computer to recover from a virus attack.
Watch out for viruses in email attachments:
Do not open an attachment that you were not expecting even if it is coming from someone that you trust. Check with the sender first to ensure that they sent the message.
Many viruses and worms infect address books without the person's knowledge. Delete all files that you do not trust.
Which Antivirus Software is best suited for your protection?
You should get the best that is available.
Your computer should have an antivirus software installed to reduce the risk of virus infection. This is reasonably effective if kept up-to-date and if the computer user takes all the necessary precautions such as not opening unknown documents/attachments or programs.
Although virus protection software is now quite sophisticated, it will not provide you with 100% protection since the creation of computer viruses are often way ahead of the people involved in antivirus research.
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