First of all, it is good to understand what a computer virus is. Traditionally a virus is a program that can replicate itself and spread from one computer to another. Viruses have now grown into many other nasty types including malware, adware, spyware, computer worms, Trojan horses, and rootkits just to name a few. Below is a brief description of each of these:
Malware is short for malicious software and is designed to disrupt or deny operation, gather private information, gain unauthorised access to a system and for other abusive behaviour.
Spyware is a type of malware that can be installed in computers and collects information. Usually spyware is installed secretly on the user’s computer and can be known to change computer settings resulting in slow connection speeds, changing home pages, key logging, loss of internet and redirection of internet traffic.
Computer worms are a self-replicating malware program, which uses computer networks to send copies of itself to other computers. These worms are usually spread due to security vulnerabilities and cause harm.
Trojan horses are software that appears to perform and function normally to a user, but steals information or harms the computer.
Rootkit is software that enables access to a computer while hiding this access from the user and administrators.
It is critical that all electronic devices be protected from this range of computer viruses – this means protecting not just your computer but also workstations, notebooks, servers, mobile phones, tablets, and most devices that have user input or connectivity including internet and memory cards.
Keep reading to review our top ten tips to stay virus free…
12 helpful hints to stay virus free
- Install and maintain reliable antivirus software
- Update your antivirus software frequently
- Don’t download programs from the web unless you are sure it is safe or from a reliable source
- Use common sense and err on the side of safety
- Keep your software up to date with Windows, Adobe and Office etc. updates
- Do not use peer to peer (p2) file downloading/sharing applications such as Torrents, Morpheus, Limeware etc.
- Use genuine and legal software only
- Don’t click on pop-up windows that announce disaster, fixes for problems, repairs etc.
- Don’t follow any links in emails that suggest your account has been comprised; a sum of money is waiting for your collection, or any offer that sounds too good to be true. Remember most banks and genuine entities will not send communication like this via email.
- Hover your mouse over links in emails and ensure they are exactly the same as the link name. i.e https://techpath.com.au should say https://techpath.com.au and not viruswebsite.com
- Educate staff on viruses and how to stay safe
- Ask TechPath. We are happy to look at any emails you think are suspect before you open attachments etc.
With more and more applications and devices integrating and connecting with the internet, it has never been more important to be virus-wise.