A lot of clients come to us to get their computers rid of viruses. While we are always happy to help, we also would like to educate our clients on how to avoid it in the first place.
It’s also important to understand the difference between viruses and malware. A virus is a computer program that can regenerate itself and spread to other computers. Viruses are transmitted through internal networks, the internet or through a USB drive. We have also encountered viruses in external USB drives, that’s how even after the computer has been cleaned, the virus is transmitted again. On the other hand, Malware is programming that is intended to hinder operations, access to information and system resources. Most anti-virus programs are not equipped to detect and remove malware. Below are some tips to avoid getting computer viruses:
- If you have a USB or other type of removable media plugged into your device, do not start your computer; especially if it came from a source you don’t trust completely. It is likely that a virus on that media will load onto your hard drive, once you start your computer.
- When opening attachments that come in an email, you need to ask yourself if the sender is someone you can trust. You should only open attachments that you were expecting or are sent by a credible source.
- If you receive emails from a stranger, marked under spam, it’s better to delete them without opening. And even if you end up opening your email, do not ever open the attachment.
- If you receive an email from someone you trust, but weren’t expecting, it’s better to inspect it. A good way to do that is by looking at the sender’s name, checking if the spelling is correct, is free from errors and if you feel it’s not genuine, it’s better to confirm with the sender before making any moves.
- It’s good to learn how to disable and enable macros. These are instructions outlined in spreadsheet and word processing programs. A macro is not necessarily bad but unless someone put it there deliberately to infect your computer.
- It’s best to have an updated antivirus program running on your computer. It will help identify and remove viruses in your memory, storage and any other files. Best thing about having an antivirus installed on your computer is that it automatically scans files you download and access.
- It is also good to consider installing a software or hardware firewall. A router is one good example of a hardware firewall. Microsoft’s operating system comes with a personal software firewall installed.
- It’s best to keep yourself updated by visiting websites that publish information regarding the latest viruses and hoaxes.
It should be appreciated that most of the defenses start with you. Being proactive is a good way to ensure smooth sailing. Of course, the more connected you are, the more exposed your system will be to viruses, but with firewalls and antiviruses, it will be easier to mitigate the risk.