Better safe than sorry. Heres how to avoid virus attacks
Virus,the very word evokes hate and fear. Every time I hear about one,I hate the guys who made it. It is said that the first computer virus was made by a disgruntled employee in a large software company. But that is history. The fact is that as long as there is piracy on the Net and takers for it among us,our PCs will remain vulnerable to viruses.
I have often joined debates on what virus makers get from their misdemeanours. Is it just the kick,or is there a financial benefit? Conspiracy theories are aplenty and many believe viruses are created by Anti-virus manufacturers.
Today,I will stay away from the economics of viruses and advise you on how to fight the scourge. Since I have already told you how to clean your PC,I will concentrate on how to make sure you do not get infected. Lets start with four golden rules:
*Stop downloading pirated music / videos / software.
*Stop borrowing software/MP3s etc downloaded by your friends.
*Have a clear policy on using all portable media.
*Know how to browse safely on the Internet.
VIRUS BUSTERS: First,if you think you are not infected,you should immediately get a good antivirus. Many basic anti-virus programmes are available for free edition such as the AVG Free (free.avg.com),while others have trial editions which can be downloaded without any payment. I find that Kaspersky (kaspersky.com) and Bit Defender (bitdefender.com) work as well as McAfee or Symantec Norton Anti-virus. If your budget permits,buy a genuine CD,make sure you register it in your name,and set a reminder to renew the license.
REGULAR UPDATES: Regularly update Windows and Internet Explorer. Schedule your computer to update at least once a week or once a month. That particular night,leave it online for updates.
SCAN DEVICES: From now on,whenever you connect an external devicea cellphone,MP3 player,camera,memory card or thumb drivescan it with your anti-virus program. I know this requires a lot of patience,but let me assure you it will only save time and money at the end of the day.
USE CDs: Though writeable CDs have become cheaper,many of us have graduated to pen drives. But the CD still has an advantage: it cant be infected once written. So,if you want to share data take it on CDs,at least you wont bring home an infection.
FIREWALLS: To make sure you surf the Net safely,opt for an anti-virus with Internet security,or activate the Windows firewall. Alternatively,you can download a free firewall from zonealarm.com.
BROWSE SAFE: If you are browsing sites that offer free downloads of smileys and themes,chances are they are also downloading malware. There has been a long discussion about how Internet Explorer is susceptible and Firefox is not. But,the new generation of IE is smarter and an update will save you too. Though Firefox is faster and has better security,its better to play safe and consider each warning seriously. Remember,like with biological viruses,you have to play it safe with digital ones too.