This Help! section includes information and recommendations on anti-virus for increased Internet security.
Antivirus programs are essential to the safety of your computer and data. Viruses attack computers in many different and inconceivable ways. In 2004, an average of 25 new viruses were introduced each day! Out-of-date protection is synonymous with no protection at all!
Your computer is vulnerable to attackers in two areas: the file system and through network communications. Antivirus programs are used to guard the file system, while firewalls are used to guard the network communications.
How Antivirus programs can protect your data:
Antivirus software guards the file system by scanning e-mail attachments and file downloads, as well as inspecting files before loading, saving, or executing them. Scanned files are compared with a database of known virus definitions or signatures. Some antivirus programs use "heuristic scanning" which tries to identify not in the database by but looking for suspicious patterns.
There are many antivirus programs are available today, with Symantec's Norton and Network Associates McAfee being the most common names for personal users. How do you choose the right one? Choose a software package that includes automatic updates and on-access/real-time scanning.
Your Antivirus Program:
Just because an antivirus program is installed doesn't mean it's actually running correctly. Dig into the program's configuration and familiarize yourself with its options. Specifically, find the option to update the program's virus definitions and confirm that it is set to receive and install new updates automatically as they become available. Also make sure that the program is configured to scan files when you open them. (Typically this called on-access or real-time scanning.) Since your poking around in the software anyway, manually perform an update to confirm that your subscription is valid and that you have the newest virus definitions installed. Afterwards it would also be a good idea to manually set the software to do a complete full system scan. Now you can take a 15-30 minute break while the software runs the scan. The more files installed on your computer hard drives, and/or the older (slower) your system is, the longer the scan will take. (It always takes longer if you stay and wait for it to finish!)
Finally, don't let your subscription expire! As mentioned before, out-of-date protection is no protection at all. If your happy with the program you have, just renew the subscription online.
We would feel comfortable with any company listed on our Links page, but Norton AntiVirus 2006 is hard to beat for a stand-alone antivirus program. Our ultimate recommendation however, would be a complete solution which includes antivirus, firewall, and spyware protection: Norton Internet Security 2006
If cost is an issue, consider one of the free-for-personal-use antivirus products such as AVG Anti-Virus or Avast! Antivirus. See the firewall and spyware pages for individual recommendations and additional useful information.
There's no excuse for going without an up-to-date antivirus program! Double-check yours today!
Help! Related Articles:
Additional Links: See Links page!
Important Note: If you are not using antivirus software because it continues to cause other problems in your computer, you may very well have spyware/adware/malware running in your computer! These types of problems are not typically detected with antivirus software. See the spyware page for more details.
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