If you’re using your home computer to learn online, chances are your computer will encounter spyware and viruses on a regular basis. Recent statistics show that over 90% of all computers that access the Internet regularly have infections of both viruses and spyware. These infections not only slow your computer down, but can also affect other computers by making your computer a zombie that sends these malicious programs abroad. Keeping your head above water amidst the thousands of viruses out there can be a challenge, but there are a few key things you can do to keep yourself safe.
First: Be careful of what you download. Even though a close friend may send you an attachment, be sure to know what it is. Often times a virus will take over someone’s e-mail address and send the virus to all of their friends. Only open an attachment or download a file if you know what it is and have specifically discussed it with who ever may be sending it.
Second: Keep your operating system updated. This is quite possibly the easiest thing to do. If you have a windows machine it only takes a few simply clicks to maintain the latest updates in security for your computer. Updating is simple, and only takes a short amount of time. Visit Update.Microsoft.com for all the latest updates.
Third: Invest in a firewall. Norton has a wonderful firewall that does a great job in blocking unwanted visitors and programs from your computer. While choosing a firewall, be sure to choose one from a company that is still in business. Just like your operating system, firewalls must be updated regularly.
Fourth: Purchase an anti-virus program. Again, Norton has an even better anti-virus that seems to clean out even the most infected machines. A firewall alone is not enough to protect yourself. Much like a firewall, anti-virus programs must be updated regularly.
Fifth: Get anti-spyware programs. You can find some great spyware removal programs such as AdAware (free offsite download) and Spybot (free offsite download) for free that plunge into the deepest parts of your computer, gathering all the spyware in the area. Just like every other program out there, these must be updated on a regular basis.
Be sure to stay updated. Set aside two hours a week to check and download updates, scan your computer for viruses and spyware, and read up on any news about new viruses that come out. Following these few steps can save yourself headaches and hundreds of dollars in computer repair.