Protecting Your Computer from Viruses
Using your computer without any antivirus protection is like driving a car with bad headlights perhaps you will have an accident perhaps not. Therefore, how do you protect yourself against viruses? To begin with, be careful about e-mail attachments. Its good to trust your friends in real life, but remember a virus your friend has can find your address in friends address book and fake a message to you. If you get a suspicious e-mail attachment with an extension such as .com, .exe, .scr (Windows executable, a Screen Saver program) it is most probably a virus.
Every time you se an executable program from internet, or get it another way, you should check it for uses with an antivirus program. Checking for viruses manually all the time would be annoying. That is why antivirus software has a part that can stay resident in the background for you. Then it checks every file that reaches you. That kind of protection blocks known viruses from executing on your computer. Antivirus has a limited protection against the viruses it has never heard of. Antivirus has to be updated with explanations how to detect and disinfect a particular virus. New viruses are discovered every day, antivirus company fights them constantly and makes an updated version of virus definition file for their software. You have to download the latest version of the virus definition file very often - in order have the right virus protection.
You may have noticed an antivirus feature in BIOS. It can only protect you from a very old type of viruses, boot viruses. Those viruses put their code in boot sector of a hard drive in order to start themselves before the system. BIOS antivirus feature doesnt let any software to overwrite the boot sector, or a more sophisticated version can ask you whether you really want to overwrite the boot sector. . Do not forget to turn off the BIOS AV when you install Windows. Windows needs to have its own bootstrap record in order to start up. Fdisk /mbr is used to repair a defective bootstrap.
Antivirus software is the last and very important in the virus protection chain. You rely on an antivirus companies work in researching viruses they find, so remember to choose a good antivirus company!
A virus can take advantage of an error in Windows to copy itself to your system. It is important to apply Service Packs to your Microsoft Windows and check Windows Update website frequently to patch your OS. And that is not the only line of defense.
Having a firewall turned on while being on the internet will also protect you against viruses and other types of attacks from the internet. Read the section about firewalls for more explanation.
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