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How Can I Protect My Computer From Viruses?

People who use Windows® should be vigilant about keeping up with software updates.
Good virus protection software can alert users immediately of a computer virus attack.
Using a firewall with a wireless router can help prevent your computer from getting viruses.
While some viruses are annoying, others can cause severe damage to a computer.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2014
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Many computers, especially those running a Windows® operating system, are at risk of contracting computer viruses. While some viruses are merely annoying, others can cause severe damage to your computer and may corrupt data beyond repair. To protect your computer from viruses, there are a few simple steps that can be taken. You must consider it a full time job; your computer is never truly safe unless it is disconnected from the Internet and you never insert computer disks or software from unreliable sources.

Keeping a close eye on the health of your operating system and software is an important way to protect your computer from viruses. Ideally, you should use an operating system that is less susceptible to viruses, such as Linux® or Macintosh®. If you have a Windows® operating system, make sure to keep up with updates and system patches so that viruses cannot exploit system vulnerabilities. Use security patches for web browsers as well, especially if you use Internet Explorer®, or consider using a less vulnerable browser, like Mozilla Firefox® or Opera™. If your computer starts to run sluggishly or behave oddly, you may have a computer virus, and you should take steps to eliminate it.

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Anti-virus software will help protect your computer as well, by maintaining a database of viruses and eliminating threats to your system as they arise, along with running periodic whole system scans. Anti-virus software can only effectively work if you keep it running at all times and update it frequently. Most software will automatically tell you when it needs updates. If you cannot afford anti-virus products, consider using anti-virus freeware from a reputable source.

You can also protect your computer from viruses by using a secure Internet connection and combining it with a firewall. Firewalls are easy to install; most computers have a setting which allows you to turn a firewall on and off, and if you make use of a wireless router, the router often has a firewall as well. If you are on a college or corporate network, the network administrators may take addition steps to protect the system from viruses so that the whole computer network will be healthy. Take advantage of anti-virus software and updates provided by your network, along with the firewall, which is often stronger than that on a personal computer.

Protect your computer from viruses by not installing untrustworthy software, clicking on pop-up ads, or opening unfamiliar emails, especially those that come with attachments. Use anti-virus scanning software to inspect incoming email, and use the quarantine feature to isolate and eliminate incoming infected files. Make sure to scan disks that you use as well, to make sure that a virus is not contained on the disk, even it is from someone you know and trust.

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Discuss this Article

anon311255
Post 16

I agree. I think we need to use both an Antivirus to protect out computers, but also common sense. I download lots of stuff from the internet so I have to make sure my computer is protected properly. I use Unthreat Antivirus and I'm happy with it. I haven't had a virus since I got it!

unsenti
Post 11

my computer once contracted a computer virus. nothing seemed wrong then, but i still had those viruses removed.

is it possible to have a computer virus on your computer but still your computer is feeling better?

JoseJames
Post 6

Computer virus protection software can be very pricey and sometimes won't perform like advertised. Often these grossly over sized suites of computer protection can slow you computer down and attempt to take control of unnecessary tasks that would otherwise be just fine without intervention.

One function that these suites will usually include that can help consumers significantly beyond virus protection is the inclusion of firewall software. This software can stop viruses from connecting to remote servers and turning your computer into a zombie drone.

It is an ever changing computer security world on the internet but only when people take personal responsibility for their computers health will we be able to adequately control the spread of viruses.

Burlap
Post 5

All of these ways of dealing with computer spyware and viruses are great suggestions but I have to make the ultimate suggestion that will forever change the way that you use personal computers and the headaches that are caused by the associated problems in computer security.

Purchasing a personal computer that is less prone to attack and viruses seems like common sense but with so many people addicted to the Microsoft operating system Windows there is a mass problem of less then secure computers existing on the internet.

There is a company that offers a computer system and independent operating system that is years beyond Microsoft on personal security. This company is known as Apple and its operating system is called OS X. Because of it's roots in the UNIX based operating system, Apple has adopted a base system that has been tested for decades.

Because of the extensive security background that unix has it is much less likely to catch a virus and you will find that there are very few viruses that even exist for this system.

IceCarver
Post 4

The best virus protection that anyone could have for their personal computer is to use proper judgment when surfing the internet. Other ways to avoid issues with viruses and spyware or malware is to not visit pornography sites or download peer-to-peer shared files that might contain malicious scripts.

It is a personal responsibility to take care of a computer infection just like you would do for a real life infection on your body. In an effort to not get other people sick we go to doctors to stop the spread of disease and by being consistent on the way you maintain your personal computer, you will help put an end to any fast spreading viruses that span the internet.

fitness234
Post 3

I do a virus check on my computer on a daily basis to avoid any issues that might arise overnight or while I am not able to monitor the actions of my applications. To make this an easier task I have been able to automate the scan software so it can be done automatically in the middle of the night while I sleep with a self-assured security about my precious files.

Only once before have I had an issue actually finding a virus on my computer and the software was able to effectively remove it without having any file loss or having to reinstall the operating system.

spreadsheet
Post 2

While there are thousands of different viruses circulating around the internet but there are other malicious software that people should be wary of. Typically called spyware, this software will often be installed with off-brand free applications that while may have a decent purpose, the underlying motive of the company or organization that made it is to evaluate your surfing and computer habits so they can sell the information to advertisers who will target you depending on the data that was found.

NightChef
Post 1

There are so many options out there on the market for protecting your computer from virus attacks but I have found that the solution can be quite simple. Not only is is a very basic process to download, install and scan your system, it can also be absolutely free.

Whenever I find myself in a situation where I need to do some system cleaning I will do an internet search for open source anti-virus software. These free virus programs are available to the public with no cost and do daily database updates so you can be sure that they are the most updated protection definitions available.

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