Protection against Viruses and other Nasties
Antivirus programs are not the only means by which you can keep your computer free of infection. This page introduces those extra methods.
If you wish to skip to the next page—which provides links to the best antivirus products and to websites which regularly check their performance—click here:
In God we trust, all others we virus scan. Author Unknown
Strategies which will help keep your computer clear of malware
I never have trouble with viruses, spyware and the like. Although I keep antivirus and other anti-malware programs on both of my Windows computers, I’d lose no sleep if I didn’t have them.
I have strategies in place to minimize the likelihood of infection and to enable me to recover to a completely clean machine in the event that those strategies fail.
I’ve only had one PC virus cause my computer harm and that was in 2000. I was a victim of a “zero-day” attack: my computer was infected by a brand new virus unknown to my antivirus program at the time, Norton Anti-Virus. The virus stopped me from downloading Norton’s updates and from visiting their website.
I had to re-install Windows 98 to solve the problem and I lost some valuable data in the process. Since that time I’ve learned a thing or two. If the same thing happened to me today I’d be back in business in 30 minutes and I certainly wouldn’t lose any data.
What to do?
It’s not rocket science. It takes an hour or two to set your computer up initially, but once that’s done you’ll save a lot of time and worry in the long run.
Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software
The most obvious protection is to install anti-malware programs, to update their definitions regularly and to run them often. More about that on the following page.
Create an image
The most effective protection is to create and maintain an up-to-date image of your system so that if your computer becomes infected you can wipe your Windows installation and restore it to health in half an hour by reverting to your backed up image. You can read all about creating your own images here: Imaging. Home users can do it with excellent free software. If you maintain up-to-date images of your installation and current backups of your data files you could quite happily do without anti-virus software and some IT pros do just that.
Use a firewall
You should use a firewall. If you use Windows Vista or Windows 7 you have a built-in software firewall. If you have a high speed Internet modem, it should have a hardware firewall built in.
Don’t tempt fate.
You shouldn’t visit the type of Internet sites which invite infection. That includes pornography sites; distributors of pirated software, movies or music; and any other sites that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to know you’d visited.
You must never click on any link or on any image in any email you receive unless you’re absolutely certain that it’s from a legitimate source. And don’t reply to them.
You should never even open any email unless you are certain of its source.
Don’t use Internet Explorer as your Internet browser
Partly because Internet Explorer is a big target and—according to most critics—partly because it’s a less secure program than some browsers (Microsoft insist on sticking with ActiveX controls which can be a security hole) I recommend that you use Mozilla’s Firefox, Opera or Google Chrome for day-to-day browsing.
Most Windows professionals and power users run Firefox because it has many useful add-ons, but Opera is also excellent and Chrome is lightweight and lightning fast.
- Install and use imaging software right now. There is an excellent free imaging program for home use and commercial users can bullet-proof their installation for US$50 or less. Find out all about it right here.
Home users, grab the free Paragon Backup & Recovery from right here
- If you haven’t already, install antivirus software today! Try this, it’s good and it’s free: Microsoft’s Security Essentials
The next page
Antivirus programs tells you the best antivirus programs and has links to their download sites and to sites which regularly check and compare their relative effectiveness.