A virus is a piece of software that can infect a computer without permission or knowledge of the user. Computer viruses can wreak havoc on computer systems, deleting files and stopping the computer from working altogether. Because viruses can be dangerous and hard to remove from a computer once it’s infected, it’s easier to make efforts to prevent a virus infection.
So, how do you prevent a virus infection?
- Subscribe to a good anti-virus protection program and keep it up to date. Some good ones include Bitdefender, Kaspersky, and Norton. If you’re unable to pay for a subscription at this time, Bitdefender & Norton offer a 30-day free trial to help you decide which one you prefer before committing to the purchase. Kaspersky offers a fully free version if you find that it meets your needs. Grisoft AVG is another free antivirus program.
- Install all updates to your operating system. This patches security holes that viruses can use to do their dirty work.
- Use a good firewall. A firewall is hardware or software that helps protect your network. One common option is purchasing a router that is built with firewall protection.
- Don’t open attachments from people you don’t know.
- Don’t open attachments you don’t know, even if they’re from people you know. They may have unknowingly sent you a virus.
- Don’t click links in emails from people you don’t know. Even if they’re from people you don’t know, if you’re not expecting to receive a link from them give them a call to make sure it is safe for you to click.
- Use an email address that includes virus scanning. Gmail includes free virus scanning.
- Avoid downloading software programs you’re not familiar with. If you do download software, be sure to scan them before installing.
Most viruses come in through via email attachments, so it’s especially important to pay attention to incoming emails. As long as you’re careful about which attachments you open, which programs you download, have a firewall, and use an up-to-date anti-virus program, you should be relatively safe against most virus attacks.
A note about different operating systems:
The majority of viruses affect the windows operating systems. The Mac computer has a significantly less amount of viruses that can infect it. There are tens of thousands of viruses for the PC and only a few hundred for the Mac. However, it is still important to run an anti-virus program on your Mac.