Computers are one of the greatest inventions of this century, if not the universe.
As usual, with every good thing, there are the bad apples which we should be aware of. And we need to protect our computers from them if we are to stay happily free from them.
If you are a Mac lover, you may just say, "get a Mac".
Well, the issue is not to run away from the known problems but to know how to tackle them safely and victoriously, if I may use the word.
Here is how to protect your computer 24/7.
These simple to apply tips will help you - but not guarantee - to stay virus and spyware free, even if you're connected to the Internet 24 hours a day.
1. Protect Yourself
Good protection on the Internet these days consists of 3 components: anti-virus software, anti-spyware software and a firewall.
Good virus protection does NOT need to cost you a fortune. You can get the excellent no-cast anti-virus software I have used for years at http://www.grisoft.com Even the professional version of their software is very affordable.
For spyware protection, go to http://www.lavasoft.de and download Ad-Aware SE Personal, also no-cost. This will zap the most common spyware and adware found on the Internet.
If you have a Firewall installed make sure it is always enabled. Alternatively you can visit a site like http://www.download.com and search for Zone Alarm, which has an excellent no-cost version.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to keep your anti-virus software up to date. An anti-virus program that uses definitions that are months old is just about useless, so update your anti-virus and anti-spyware software at least once a week.
2. Stop Opening Every Attachment You Receive.
Most of the devastating worms and viruses of recent times were distributed via email. These viruses feed on the curiosity and also the ignorance of a huge number of email users. People will get an email from firstname.lastname@example.org and they'll just open whatever file is attached to it.
If you don't know the sender, don't open the attachment - just delete it. It doesn't matter if the subject addresses you by name and promises you'll see Joe Robson on his head on the kitchen table, just delete it. Well you would anyway I suppose:-)
If the email is from someone you know, always scan attachments first with your anti-virus software before opening them.
If every email user in the world followed these simple guidelines the distribution of viruses via email will grind to a halt.
3. Stay Clear Of P**n*graphic And Illegal Software Sites
If you want to pick up viruses and spyware quickly, visit some porno web sites. One wrong click on a subtle little pop-up or security warning window which you'll run into often on these type of sites ( so I'm told:-) and you'll have infested yourself with trojan horses, spyware, dialers and other unfavorable software that could leave your computer wide open to further attacks.
The same goes for web sites distributing software, serial codes and cracks illegally (warez).
Simply put - keep out of the dark side of the web and the odds of keeping your computer clean shifts decidedly in your favor.
4. Be VERY Careful What You Download
Spyware is embedded in a lot of software on the Internet - especially those related to ripping, converting and playing music and videos. That free MP3 player or DVD Ripper you just downloaded may have installed a bunch of harmful spyware without you even knowing about it.
5. Keep Yourself Informed And Up To Date
Major anti-virus software developers like Symantec and Grisoft update their sites regularly with the latest virus alerts. Visit these sites frequently to keep yourself aware of what threats are doing the rounds and how to avoid them.
6. ALWAYS Back Up Your Data.
ALWAYS back up your data frequently. A system crash caused by a worm or virus is not only a massive inconvenience but years of irreplaceable information could be lost forever unless you have backups of your most precious data. Use CD's to copy it at least weekly, but most people forget and allow it to lapse. An easier and inexpensive way is to purchase reputable and proven Backup Software like WinBackup. http://tncinfo.com/speedup.htm
Using these simple tips and software is not rocket science. Just stay alert, use some common sense and you too can stay bug free while still enjoying your Internet experience.