New and improved software that promise ease while working on your computer are developed everyday. These can be downloaded from the internet or installed from a CD. But, you must take precautions while adding them to your system since they are targeted by hackers, spammers and virus writers. Also, take precautions while downloading files from emails or copying documents from the company network. Here is how you should go about it...
1. Download from a safe site Always download from an authentic and well known site. It is best to download software directly from the developer’s site. Downloads.com and tucows.com are relatively safe sites where you can search for software with ease. On downloads.com all the software is tested and safe.
2. Keep your anti-virus scan on While downloading and before installing, your anti- virus programme should scan all files entering your system. Programmes like Norton detect and block spyware detect and block viruses and hackers before they can cause harm. In addition, use a firewall and an anti-spyware programme.
3. Update your anti-virus programme regularly New viruses are discovered everyday. Thus, it is vital to keep your anti-virus programme up-to-date. Updates are available on the developer’s site. Also keep your operating system updated with the latest security settings.
4. Never download mails from strangers You might get mails from an unknown or suspicious source offering you free software and free vouchers. These mails could be holding viruses in them. Delete these mails without opening them, especially if they contain file attachments. Your e-mail’s spam filter will block such mails.
5. Back up important files No system is absolutely secure at all times. It is essential to keep a back up of all your important files. You can back up your material on to a CD, a DVD or an external hard drive. In case your computer does get attacked by a virus, you can always reinstall your files from your back up copies.
In spite of observing all these precautions, it is essential to be aware of any unusual behaviour on your computer. If you suspect trouble, immediately contact a technician to fix your problem.
DEALING WITH THE VIRUS MENACE
The ever present threat can never be taken lightly and any amount of information on the virus and its aftermath is useless unless ‘You’ as a PC user wake up to this menace. This week we share with you on how to recognize a virus attack and how to guard your computer against it.
A CHECKLIST TO DETECT VIRUS INFECTIONS
You know that a virus has hit you when: • The hard drive is running out of disk space for no apparent reason. • You notice that various .EXE and .COM programs have increased in size for no reason. • You notice substantial hard drive activity, but were not expecting it. • System performance has slowed down noticeably. • Files have been lost or corrupted for no apparent reason. • There are an unusual number of access problems. • The system locks up frequently or without explanation.
Guarding Your Computer Against The Virus Menace
• Never open an e-mail attachment if you are not sure what it contains. It may be from a friend, but before opening the attachment, check up with the person who has sent it. Be even more careful of attachments that have the extensions .vbs or .exe. These are the most common program files in which viruses are written. Word and Excel files should also be looked at with suspicion, if you don’t know who the sender is. These files could contain macro viruses. • Always have a good anti-virus software installed on your computer. An anti-virus is very essential to keep malicious viruses at bay. But new viruses are developed and unleashed on a daily basis so you have to make it a point to update them regularly after they are loaded.
Update Your Virus Software
Since new types of viruses are invented every day by people who haven't yet got the opportunity to utilise their time in a better manner, it is a must that you update the virus detection software in your machine on a regular basis. Fortunately, these updates can be done for free. If you haven't got anti-virus software installed in your machine, please do as soon as possible. Run a virus software check on a regular basis if you use floppies on a regular basis or download files from the net or receive files through email regularly. The most important thing you can do to protect yourself from a virus attack is to never open an email attachment that you do not recognise however tempting the file name might be. Most common viruses that attach themselves and go from the sender to the recipient automatically (that is even though a send command for that particular item was not executed) are exe and pif files.