Anytime you connect to the internet, receive emails, or insert media such as a thumb drive or floppy disk, you place your computer at risk to threats. Some may be mild, but most are malicious and can wreck havoc on an unprotected computer – they can bog down and slow your computer processes, delete files, and cause tremendous delays when you startup your PC. Some can even render a computer useless requiring costly professional repair or replacement. Most brand new computers will come pre-installed with a limited version of one of the name-brand Antivirus programs – however these versions are usually limited in features or will terminate in a few months. Make sure you activate your antivirus software if purchasing a new computer – and do not let the protection lapse! If your subscription runs out, make sure you purchase the update! If you are having problems with your computer and you have not updated your antivirus software definitions – or if you haven’t installed a current antivirus program on your PC, you can always use a free online antivirus scan. Check out all of our recommended resources – many of which are completely free.
Install and Run Anti-Virus Software
If you are a US Government employee or Military Service Member , you are authorized to receive a free copy of Norton Antivirus Corporate Edition – please refer to your computer support personnel to receive this free software. After you install your Antivirus software, ensure that you update the virus definitions regularly and that you actually run a scan on your computer regularly (weekly). Lastly, as most viruses are transmitted by email, ensure that your software is scanning all incoming emails, attachments, and downloaded files.
“A typical unprotected PC will come under attack
within 20 minutes of being connected to the Internet.”
Total Anti-Virus Protection
Computer viruses take the shape of executable files designed to spread and replicate themselves on your PC while avoiding detection by attempting to burrow deep into your operating system or they may disguise themselves as legitimate files or programs. Viruses can often morph to take new shape and make it harder for you or your anti-virus software to detect. For this reason, you must continuously update your anti-virus program with the latest virus definitions in order to keep up with new and modified viruses.
To ensure that you keep your computer virus-free, you will need to scan for viruses on a regular basis – at least once a week. Using a program such as Norton or McAfee, you can easily schedule for weekly (or other interval) scans. Simply scanning is not enough.
You should also enable your anti-virus software to actively scan all incoming emails – most software can even connect directly to your email program and scan incoming emails as you receive them (Microsoft Outlook, etc.) Also, set up your software to scan incoming downloaded files too – so that files that your download off the internet or via a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) server are scanned before they can do harm to your computer system.
If you do not update your definitions regularly, your virus scans are virtually worthless. Most commercial anti-virus software programs will give you free definition updates for one year, however, after that you will need to pay additional periodic subscription fees (usually an annual fee). If you do not, you will not be able to download any additional definitions and your program will be out of date. Keep up with your definitions – most anti-virus applications readily show on the screen the last time the definitions were downloaded – so you can see how current they are.
So your latest scan found malicious files infecting your PC – now what do you do? Find out more about how to remove a virus from your PC .
Read more about Anti-Virus Software and how to protect your computer.
Free Online Virus Scans
>>Trend Micro House Call – Free Virus Checker
>>BitDefender – Free Online Virus Scanner
>>Freedom Internet – Free Online Virus Scan
>>Kaspersky Webscan – Free Online Virus Scanner
Housecall by Trend Micro, is a free, Web-based antivirus utility that efficiently scans your PC for malicious files and worms and removes any potential problems it finds. What makes Housecall better than most other Web-based scan utilities, is that it can also eliminate most viruses or worms it finds. There is also the “Auto Clean” feature lets you automate all cleansing functions, Housecall will automatically searching for malicious intruders and deleting any questionable files or embedded malicious code it discovers during a scan. If you prefer to maintain manual control, you can choose to correct things yourself after Housecall finishes its scan.
Keeping your computer virus-free is an active, ongoing job. You will need to update your virus definitions, run regularly scheduled scans of your computer, and keep an active defense, scanning all incoming files, emails, and attachments.
For more information check out the following resources: Free Online Scanner for PC Health and Safety and Microsoft Security At Home for tips to Protect your Pc, Protect yourself and Protect your Family.
Free Antivirus Downloads
There are several very effective and free Antivirus programs that you can download online. Although not as flashy as the commercial products, and they lack the customer support, they are effective at protecting your desktop or laptop computer against malicious code trying to infect your computer. And, since their price is free, you have nothing to lose to download and install current antivirus software
>>AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition – Also offers a paid-version
>>Avast! – Free antivirus, firewall, spam-fighter
>>Comodo Antivirus – Free antivirus – also offers a security suite
Microsoft’s Free Antivirus Tool
Based on technology acquired in the purchase of software firm Sybari, Microsoft’s new security program — Microsoft Security Essentials, offers broad protection against computer virus infections. The latest version expands protection with a network intrusion detection system as well as heuristics based malware protection. Available now, it is also free for Windows home and small business users.
According to the Microsoft website, the software protects against viruses, Trojans, worms, and spyware. The company has also created a specialized threat team who publishes their findings on the Microsoft Malware Protection Center website. In addition to virus scanning, Security Essentials offers integration with Windows Firewall as well as rootkit protection – an advanced feature.
Microsoft Security Essentials offers great protection while being a very lightweight program. Unlike other bloated commercial packages, it does not slow your system down. It runs nicely in the background and only makes itself known when it has discovered an infection. The package is compact and efficient.
In use it is simplicity itself. One does not need to touch it but rather allow it to run. If the user is suspicious about certain files, they can first be viewed in Window Explorer. The suspected file can then be chosen. Now initiate a right clock while pointing to the file. Security Essentials has added a “Scan with Microsoft Security Essentials” item to the context menu. Simply click on it to manually scan the selected file.
This program requires no registration, no trials, or renewals and is available absolutely free of charge by download directly from Microsoft at:http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials
Did you Find a Virus?
The best thing to do is try to let your Virus Protection Program attempt to either kill the virus – or if it can’t do that, at least quarantine the it. Check out our step-by-step instructions on how to remove a virus from your PC. For more information on specific viruses, check out Symantec’s Official Website . This site is also where you can check whether or not an email notice about a virus is a hoax or real.
If your software identified a virus by name, but was unable to eliminate it, type in the name of the virus in the search box (upper-right corner) on Symantec’s website and it will tell you step-by-step instructions on how to get rid of it (see red arrow below).
How to Avoid Computer Viruses
There are some simple steps you must take to avoid becoming a victim of computer viruses. I’ve listed some of them below. Largely, it boils down to using good anti-virus software and being aware of how these programs spread. This simple step can be the difference between surviving the next virus outbreak and becoming another victim who’s lost time, data, and, of course, money.
The essential step is to install effective anti-virus software. The easiest way is to buy one of the two major programs – either Norton or McAfee. There are several other commercial packages that are also respectable, but you’ll get the best support from the user community with one of big guns. My new laptop came with Norton installed, and I am very happy with it. It automatically checks with the Symantec website for new updates, so I’m protected against the latest threats.
It works seamlessly with all of the email programs I use, including Outlook Express, Netscape Mail (part of the Netscape Navigator package), and Qualcomm’s Eudora. And by following the manufacturers’ recommendations, everything went very smoothly when I installed the SP2 upgrade to Windows XP. So, as I say, I’m happy as a clam with Norton and highly recommend it.
Update Your Virus Definitions!
It is important you update your virus definitions weekly to keep up to date with the latest viruses. If you get an email about a new virus alert, be sure to update your definitions. To update your Norton definitions you will need to run Live Update.
1. Connect your computer to a wired or wireless internet connection.
2. A. If you’re running Norton Antivirus Corporate Edition: Click Start, Programs, Norton AntiVirus Corporate Edition, Norton AntiVirus Corporate Edition.
B. If you’re running Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition: Click Start, Programs, Symantec Client Security, Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition
3. Click Live Update.
4. Follow the on-screen prompts to download the latest definitions.
Automatically Schedule Norton AntiVirus Updates
1. Open Norton Corporate Edition and choose File, Schedule Update to access the Schedule Virus Definition Updates popup window.
2. Click on the Schedule button to display the Definitions Update Schedule and, under Frequency, select the button next to Daily. It is best to pick a time when you know your computer will be connected to the Internet via Ethernet or Modem.