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How to Protect Your PC from Computer Viruses

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/27/2007 | Computer

In today's world a computer is pretty much a necessity. Most of us at the very least will use them regularly for simple word processing tasks, sending and receiving emails and browsing the Internet.

Unfortunately with this popularity has come an increasing risk from hackers and other people of malicious intent. It seems that not a day goes by without a news item about some new computer virus, trojan or worm intent on wreaking havoc with your computer's hard drive.

The threat posed by computer viruses should not be taken lightly. They come in many different forms depending on what their creators have designed them to do. This could be feeding back to the hacker information held on your computer; slowing it down and making it unstable, or even deleting files from it.

Computer virus programmers will usually disguise their wares as the type of common file that you're used to using everyday e.g. an mp3 music file, or they'll send an executable program file as an email attachment that gets activated as soon as you open the email.

A lot of the protection you can give yourself from these nasty pieces of code comes down to commonsense. Don't open emails if you don't recognize and trust the sender. Make sure the security settings on your Web browser are set to 'high'. Try to stay away from the 'shadier' areas of the Internet. Don't use peer-to-peer file-sharing programs.

Make sure that you have up-to-date versions of the two must-have pieces of software on your computer and that they are activated at all times. What are the must-have pieces of software that everyone should have installed on their computer? An Antivirus program and a Firewall.

There was a time when you could probably have gotten away with just an Antivirus program but, especially with the advent of always-on Internet connections in this era of high-speed Internet access, this is no longer enough. You really must invest in a good Firewall program as well.

Because new computer viruses are being invented virtually every day you should invest in an Antivirus program that checks for updates automatically every time you access the Internet. Most of the top ones will do this as a matter of course.

Remember, this is definitely one area where prevention is much better than cure. Don't leave your computer vulnerable to attack. If you don't already have a reputable Antivirus program and Firewall installed on your PC, make yourself a promise to sort out that omission today - the potential consequences of not doing so don't bear thinking about.