Trying to make sense of computer viruses and malware is more frustrating than ever. It is important that we safeguard our computers with the same vigliance applied to wallets and sensitive documents. An unprotected computer can be just as detrimental to the safekeeping of your identity as a purse snatching. However, there are a few things that you can do to minimize these attacks to keep your computer safe and secure.
Every computer in your home or office needs to be running an up-to-date anti-virus solution. Luckily, there are plenty of excellent solutions available to consumers free of charge.
For computers running Windows, you have Avast! Free, AVG Free, Avira Free and Microsoft Security Essentials. The first three solutions are licensed for home/non-business use only. Microsoft Security Essentials can be used in a small business environment (up to 10 computers).
For MACs, you can choose from iAntiVirus and ClamXav.
Whichever solution you choose, it is important to select a product that will check for updates on a daily basis. Most paid versions of the anti-virus software will check for updates hourly.
Anti-virus software may not detect all types of malware or spyware, so a second level of defense for your computer is to use an anti-malware solution. Of the many free solutions available on the market, Windows PC offers two great programs: MalwareBytes and SuperAntiSpyware. MACs come with an anti-malware solution that comes already installed on the machines.
In Case of Infection:
Usually, you will know if your computer is infected by a few tell-tale symptoms: Constant pop-ups, failure to connect to the Internet, and general poor performance.
- Power down your computer immediately.
- Remove the Internet cable, or disable wireless access.
- Power your computer back up, and immediately run a full scan using your anti-virus program. Follow this up with a full-scan via your anti-malware program. Follow the advised steps on the screen via your software and cleanup any security issues. Afterwards, you may be prompted to re-start your computer.
- Repeat the above step until no more issues are found.
- Reconnect your computer to the Internet and check both your anti-virus and anti-malware programs for updates. After updates are complete, scan your computer with both programs once more.