How Can I Avoid Computer Viruses?
If you've ever gotten a computer virus, you know how badly it can derail your work, your Internet surfing and even your saved files.
From spyware that transmits personal information to scammers to viruses that simply destroy your hard drive, you should make it your personal mission to avoid viruses online.
The Internet is the easiest way to catch a computer virus, so you have to be extra vigilant when it comes to lowering your risk for getting infected. Just as when it's cold and flu season, you can lower your risk by being prepared and educated so you aren't caught with a nasty virus.
Install anti-virus software. This is something they should teach in Internet 101. All computers should have a good-quality anti-virus program, no matter their make or model, according to TechRepublic.
Here's the thing: an anti-virus program can perform daily scans to catch viruses before they can be a problem, as well as scan documents and other downloads for possible infections before you authorize their download to your computer.
While it can sometimes seem as though anti-virus programs are bothersome — you've probably had one try to scan when you were busy using your machine — resist the temptation to get rid of them altogether.
Whether you grab a free version online, or you use the software that came with your computer, it adds a layer of protection for you and your files.
Be download smart. Look, you probably aren't going to win a free iPad if you click on a link, so be smart about how and where you download anti-virus software. Scammers usually use incentives such as free products to hook you in so you unknowingly infect your own computer.
If you've never heard of the website or it's promising something that is too good to be true, exit the page immediately and you’ll save yourself a huge headache.
Check your email. Viruses and other forms of malware can travel through emails that look like messages from reputable sources, such as friends, family members or your bank. Scammers can hack into those peoples' accounts, or otherwise "spoof" them, and craft phony emails that look legit.
That's why it's important to scan downloads before you add them to your computer, even if the picture from your aunt's trip to Hawaii or your dad's recommendation of a website looks like the real deal.
To make sure it's the real person sending the message, send him or her message as part of an new email thread, and wait for a reply . It's always better to be safe than to be sorry — and out of commission with an infected machine.
This story was provided by Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site to SecurityNewsDaily.