As a well-trained and experienced PC expert, I’ve encountered and subsequently dealt with every type of malicious software known to man; I’m talking about viruses, worms, and rootkits, not to mention spyware and malware. Thankfully, most of the malicious code I’ve encountered has just been petty, harmless scareware designed to elicit fear.
Throughout the years, however, I’ve also encountered a bevy of highly dangerous source code with the potential to seriously damage a computer or computer network. These types of malicious programs are designed to corrupt user files, modify computer registries, steal valuable Internet bandwidth, and even annihilate entire operating systems.
As a well-trained and experienced PC expert, I’ve encountered and subsequently dealt with every type of malicious software known to man.
Unfortunately, combating such sophisticated algorithms isn’t easy. It requires a thorough combination of technical experience and skills, advanced computer knowledge, and access to professional-grade tools. Sadly, most purported technicians possess merely one or two of these, if any at all.
How often have you hired a “Grade A Technician” to remove a virus, only to have the exact same problem pop up again two months later? It’s a common occurrence because most supposedly trained technicians are merely trained at using cheap or free software applications, many of which you could download off the Internet yourself, to barely tackle the problem. The truth is that the only real way to eliminate a computer infection is to chop away at the root.
It just so happens that the only way to chop at the root is to change your own online behaviors. Most computer owners rely on a fancy antivirus software, which is certainly nice. The problem is that even the best antivirus program is limited, in that it can only reduce your risks to an extent. Suffice it to say, even if you were to install the latest version of Norton Antivirus on your computer system, you would still be at risk. As such, the only real way to handle computer infections is to maintain a proactive stance about it, lest you become a victim.
Always make certain that your operating system is completely up-to-date. Though updates are time-consuming, and though they sometimes bring about unexpected and unwanted compatibility issues, they’re worth all the trouble. The folks who design these updates know what they’re doing. In fact, the majority of operating system updates are related to new spyware or malware threats that have begun spreading across the net.
You must also keep your antivirus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware programs updated as well. Even the best antivirus program is going to be completely useless if it’s a month or, God forbid, a year behind in updates. Each software update brings with it a huge mass of new data on incoming threats, many of which even your operating system will not be prepared to handle. After you update both your operating system and all of your software applications, make sure you setup a system restore point for additional security.
Speaking of programs, you really don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy one. My all-time favorite kind of antivirus program, in my opinion, are the ones that offer 100% free scans. I haven’t suffered from a computer virus in over five years but we are constantly testing which ones are the best antivirus programs for 2011 and we will be doing the same for the best antivirus in 2012. The problem with many of the more sophisticated antivirus suites is that they use up too many resources, basically causing your computer to run very slow.
Let’s get back to discussing ways in which you can better defend your system. Never open an email from an individual whom you don’t know. In fact, avoid any emails whose subject lines boast of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And never, absolutely never, download an email attachment unless you’ve first verified its authenticity by calling and speaking directly to the sender of the email.
Avoid tackling with illegal content. Don’t use peer-to-peer file networks, don’t download torrents, and never click on a link promising free goodies. Though free songs and games sound enticing, they’re magnets for malicious code.
Be proactive when you’re merely surfing the web. Sites that appear on major search engines like Google and Yahoo haven’t necessarily been proven to be safe. Search engines pick sites based on quality content. They don’t, however, keep a tab of malicious code.
Last but not least, be careful when you install new software. If there is an option to perform a custom install, choose it. This will let you pick which components you require. When installing Yahoo Messenger, for instance, the automatic install includes with it the Yahoo Search Bar. If you were to use a custom install instead, you could avoid having the Yahoo toolbar installed into your computer if you did not want to install it.
Last but not least, consider taking a look at out antivirus reviews page if you having any problems finding which antivirus software program is best for you.