6 Easy Ways To Avoid Computer Viruses

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As people become more comfortable with going online for work, entertainment, and to socialize, the dangers have multiplied. Viruses abound, largely because many users of the Internet are either unaware of the dangers or they underestimate them. Whole industries have sprung up based on the propensity of many surfers to infect their computers with viruses. Virus removal tools and fixes are common, but if users exercise a few basic precautions, they will usually be unnecessary.

Anti-virus Programs

The first and most basic tip is to install a good anti-virus program. There are some users who choose not to do this, out of the fear that this software may slow their computers down. The dangers, however, outweigh the drawbacks of good anti-virus software. Using HP coupons can help a user to get a new computer that can run anti-virus software in the background without any noticeable decrease in speed.

Features to look for when choosing anti-virus software include:

  • Real-time protection
  • The ability to implement custom scans
  • Protection from dangers such as rootkits

Email Attachments

One of the oldest tips for protecting a computer remains true today: avoid clicking on email attachments. Of course, while an experienced computer user will know not to do this, sometimes a novice family member or friend may attempt to open attachments from unknown senders. When allowing anyone to use your computer, you should inform them of this basic rule. Yes, a good anti-virus may be able to protect your computer, but not always.

Links in Social Network Statuses

Be careful about clicking on links in status updates that do not seem to be in the usual tone or character of previous updates. Infection via social networking is one of the more serious dangers, both because of the recent rise in the popularity of social sites and because of people inadvertently sharing viruses with their circle of contacts. In social networks, the infections may come from people you know and trust, rather than some random, unknown source. This means that you need to read carefully before clicking on a link. Further exacerbating the danger is the fact that many of the links that show up in status updates are shortened to fit within a limited character count. This makes it more difficult to discern suspicious URLs.


Anyone who is serious about their computer security will have to forego downloading files via BitTorrent. Aside from getting into trouble for violating copyright, there is the very good possibility that anyone downloading files via BitTorrent sites can get a virus infection. These sites are popular for downloading various types of media and thus make excellent methods for infecting multiple computers. All a virus maker has to do is to disguise their program as a popular file that many people want to download. People download the virus thinking it is a movie or song that they want and inadvertently infect their computers.

Porn Sites

Much like movies and music from torrents, pornography is extremely popular on the Internet. Porn sites are good methods of spreading viruses since people are more likely to forego their better judgment and click on questionable links in order to view content. By doing this, users can download a virus and infect their computers.

Admin as Default Log in ID

Most people don’t think about it, but when you are setting up Windows for the first time it sets up the first log in ID as the administrator. This means that if the option to “ask administrator to install” isn’t set up, windows will run a .EXE without you knowing about it. Many of the malware, and viruses around are started when it runs the .EXE, or runs a install. To prevent this, make sure you set up a second account that is “limited” and use that. If something tries to run a .EXE, it will pop up a box asking for the administrator password to run the install. One of the biggest complaints about Windows Vista/Windows 7, was that it asked if you wanted to install just about everything, and people turned it off. Most people didn’t realize that it was on by default for their own good.

Taking basic steps to prevent virus infections is one of the basics of owning a computer. It is the web surfer’s responsibility to exercise common sense when using the Internet.

FeaturedImg courtesy of Flickr

Glee Cunningham is a quiet, computer genius. He saves the rest of us from losing our computers to viruses. He has been working in the IT industry for a couple decades now.

Posted in: Malware Protection

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