Virus and Spyware

Virus and Spyware are a major concern for businesses and the home user alike. Although there are different types and names the concerns from the home user's point of view are the same. "Am I protected?" and "What can I do to make my computer safer?" The best protection you can have for virus and spyware is an Anti-virus program and to make sure that the virus definitions are up to date. Virus definitions, also known as Virus signatures, are patterns of code that resemble a virus string. Your Anti-virus software uses these definitions to recognize potentially harmful code on your computer. Virus on Computer Screen Imagine that your Anti virus and spyware software is an Old West Sheriff and the virus definitions are Wanted Posters. You want the Sheriff to recognize the bad guys and blast them as they enter town. Making sure that your anti-virus program can run updates is your part of making your computer more secure.
Symptoms that you have a Virus on your computer can include: • Your system runs slow. • The computer crashes, this might be with or without an automatic restart. • Error messages constantly pop up. • Programs or files open slowly or not at all (especially security programs). • You no longer have access to drives or other storage media. • Certain Web sites won't open in your browser, these include anti virus and spyware software vendors. • Your Anti-virus software has stopped updating automatically and you cannot perform this action manually either. • You can no longer print. • Programs disappear from your system. • Strange icons are added to your desktop, or programs appear that you never installed. • The unused space on your hard drive disappears (which could mean a worm is replicating itself). • People in your contacts list receive e-mail from your account, often with a virus attached. • There's a big jump in the amount of traffic on your network, especially outbound. Spyware warning screen Symptoms that you have Spyware on your computer can include: Getting pop-up and pop-under ads at all times These annoying ads "pop" up all the time. You have no idea why you are getting these ads and you haven't clicked on anything to justify it. A good indicator is that you do not even have a web browser open and you are being bombarded with pop-up screens. This is a common occurrence of virus and spyware activity. Changes to your computer configuration You may find that settings on your computer have changed. This can be a different homepage on your browser, a different default font or search option. If you change these back to your original settings and they return when you restart your computer you most likely are the victim of Spyware. Web browser contains components that you didn't download Spyware can add toolbars to your Web browser that you didn't download. If you remove these toolbars, they might return each time you restart your computer. Your computer runs slower Spyware is not coded to be efficient. Resources these programs use can slow down your computer and errors in the software can make your computer crash. If your computer is slower than normal at performing routine tasks, you may have spyware on your computer. Prevention Tips Make sure that you use the Windows Firewall; this won't prevent spyware that you download as part of a "free" program but will deter hackers from gaining access to your computer. Always make sure that Windows and your other programs are kept up to date as this will make sure that you have the latest security updates and any security "holes" have been taken care of and cannot be exploited by virus and spyware.
Be wary of free programs (many of these contain virus and spyware) and never click OK to close a window that has popped up on your screen. NEVER trust any message on your screen that says that your computer might be infected, no matter how legitimate it looks. Press Alt+F4 to close the window or use CTRL+ALT+DELETE to open the Task Manager and close the Internet browser from the Applications tab. By clicking on the window itself to close, you may actually be accepting whatever the program is. These downloads are often so quick you may not even know that you have downloaded everything. To top this off they may try to sell you a spyware removal tool to remove the spyware they gave you in the first place. Buyer Beware!!!! To remove Virus and Spyware you can use Windows Defender. This comes bundled with Windows Vista and will be included with Windows 7. If you are running Windows XP you can download Windows Defender here: Windows Defender Download Other Virus Protection and Spyware Sources Computers come bundled with some kind of virus and spyware software these days. Whether it fits your needs, wallet or expectations is another matter. Some seem obtrusive while you wonder if others are even working. When was the last time it ran a system scan or updated its definitions? In an ever fluctuating market, different anti-virus vendors are all jockeying for 1st place position as the top supplier of choice. It all depends on what you are looking for and how much you want to spend. It's best to do some research of your own if you are not happy with the service provided by your anti-virus supplier or with the cost of that service. Two companies that you might want to look into are: McAfee Norton
There are also free virus and spyware protection programs out there such as: Avast As far as spyware detection software goes you can find many sources, most of them offering free software. We've already mentioned the Windows Defender program but there are also others available: Spybot - Search and Destroy Ad-Aware Yahoo Anti-Spy (This one comes with a Yahoo Toolbar) The best defense against virus and spyware is an informed user. If you know that your computer is starting to display signs of an infection you can begin to fight back for control of your computer. Being adequately protected to stop intrusions in the first place can save you a lot of headaches and worry. After all it's your information that is on your computer. So be informed, up to date and aware of the dangers of virus and spyware.  
Virus and Spyware by PC Apprentice 2009 - 2017  "Some things Man was never meant to know. For everything else, there's Google." - Unknown