Protect Your Computer from Potential Computer Viruses

A virus is a program that can wreak havoc on your computer and use your Internet connection to spread itself to other computers, usually those of your co-workers, friends, and family. You can prevent many viruses by only opening e-mail attachments when you know where the e-mail came from and what the attachment is. Unfortunately, sometimes that isn’t even enough. Read on to learn how you can help prevent viruses from infecting your computer.

Step 1: Check your computer for antivirus software

Most computers now come with antivirus software installed. Follow these steps to determine if you already have the software you need to prevent viruses.

  1. Click Start, and then click Programs.
  2. Look for the word “antivirus.” You might also see the name of a popular antivirus manufacturer such as McAfee, Norton, Trend Micro, or Symantec.

If you determine that there is no antivirus software on your computer, you will need to download antivirus software to protect yourself from potential computer viruses. You can visit one of the web sites listed below to find appropriate software protection:

Step 2: Keep your antivirus program up to date

You don’t expect that flu shot you got three years ago to continue to offer protection, do you? Similarly, antivirus software will only help protect you from viruses if you update it regularly. Antivirus programs work by comparing your machine against known viruses. When you update your software you download information about all the latest viruses. Depending on your software, this information is usually referred to as “virus definitions.” As virus writers are always coming up with new ways to infect your computer, we recommend that you download all the new virus definitions monthly or even weekly.

Here are two ways to find out when you last updated your antivirus program:

  1. Click the antivirus software icon in your system tray in the bottom right side of your screen, near the clock. You should see the date that you last updated your software.
  2. Open your antivirus software by clicking Start, clicking Programs, and then clicking your antivirus software. Look for information about the update status.

If it has been more than a month since you updated your software, do it now to help ensure your safety. You can usually download up to date virus definitions (antivirus software updates) by simply visiting the website of the company that makes your software.

Remember, you must have a current antivirus subscription to download updates to your software. If your subscription has expired, be sure to renew or, if you prefer, take this opportunity to try a different antivirus program.

Tip: Many antivirus companies offer an automatic downloads service that will automatically update your antivirus software when you go online. Check your antivirus manufacturer’s website for more information.

If you suspect that your computer is infected with a virus, we recommend downloading Stinger onto your computer.

Step 3: Choose antivirus software that’s right for you

If you don’t have antivirus software on your system, or if you’d like to install a different program, here are two key factors to consider before you make your choice:

  1. Auto-updates. Downloading the latest updates is critical. Many companies offer an automated option for their products.
  2. The manufacturer’s reputation. If you search the Internet long enough, you’re bound to find antivirus software for which you don’t have to pay a dime. Some antivirus vendors allow you to download a free trial version of their antivirus software to see if you like it before you buy it.

Tip: Two antivirus programs are not better than one. If you already have antivirus software but you’d like to try a different one, always uninstall the old program before you install the new one. Running more than one antivirus program at the same time may cause major conflicts.

If you have any concerns about potential computer viruses, or if you receive any suspicious emails, please contact Technical Support. We will be happy to assist you.