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Getting a virus on your system is frustrating and can be hazardous to the health of your computer. Today's malicious software can even steal your identity and wreck your hard-earned credit rating. Viruses, worms, and trojans often disable your antivirus software when they infect your system. This prevents the antivirus software from being updated and detecting the presence of the malware.

Malware can often leave an infected system unstable, or even unable to boot into Windows. Malicious software is generally targeted at compromising your privacy or damaging your computer for financial gain. Most malware will force its way on to your system and then demand monetary payment for some sort of result, which will also be false. Malware can get downloaded from anywhere on the internet, from websites that advertise fake security scanners to websites that claim to contain essential video and audio codec packs needed to run media on your computer. Installation of malware could cause damage to your operating system as well as completely halting day-to-day activities on your system until you make some payment, at which point the malware will still remain on your computer, until you take steps to remove it.

Achieving good computer security can seem like a daunting task. Security suites typically combine antivirus, antispyware, and a firewall with value-added features such as antispam and phishing filters. But full blown suites can be pricey.Free antivirus software may be the only option for those on a limited budget.
Fortunately, following the few simple steps outlined below can provide a good measure of security in very little time.

1) Use antivirus software and keep it up-to-date. You should check for new definition updates daily. Most antivirus software can be configured to do this automatically.

2) Install security patches. Vulnerabilities in software are constantly being discovered and they don't discriminate by vendor or platform. Updating Windows, at least monthly, and also check for and apply updates for all software you use.

3) Use a firewall. No Internet connection is safe without one. Firewalls are necessary even if you have a dial-up Internet connection -- it takes only minutes for a a non-firewalled computer to be infected. The built in Firewall in windows is quite sufficient but make sure it is turned on.

4) Secure your browser. Many people have the misconception that only Internet Explorer is a problem. It's not the browser you need to be concerned about. Nor is it a matter of simply avoiding certain 'types' of sites. Known, legitimate websites are frequently being compromised and implanted with malicious javascript that downloads malware onto visitors' computers. To ensure optimum browsing safety, the best tip is to disable javascript for all but the most essential of sites -- such as your banking or regular ecommerce sites. Not only will you enjoy safer browsing, you'll be able to eliminate unwanted pop-ups as well.

5) Take control of your email. Avoid opening email attachments received unexpectedly -- no matter who appears to have sent it. Remember that most worms and spam try to impersonate and forge the sender's name. Make sure your email client isn't leaving you open to infection. Reading email in plain text offers important security benefits that more than offset the loss of pretty colored fonts.

6) Treat IM suspiciously. Instant Messaging is a frequent target of worms and trojans. Treat it just as you would email.

7) Avoid P2P and distributed filesharing. Torrent, Kazaa, Gnutella, Morpheus and at least a dozen other filesharing networks exist. Most are free. And all are rife with trojans, viruses, worms, adware, spyware, and every other form of malicious code imaginable. There's no such thing as safe anonymous filesharing. Avoid it like the plague.

8) Keep abreast of Internet scams. Criminals think of clever ways to separate you from your hard earned cash. Don't get fooled by emails telling sad stories, or making unsolicited job offers, or promising lotto winnings. Likewise, beware of email masquerading as a security concern from your bank or other eCommerce site. Also be aware of someone calling you at your home, advising you that they are from some organization investigating recent virus activity coming from your computer.

9) Don't fall victim to virus hoaxes. Dire-sounding email spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about non-existent threats serve only to spread needless alarm and may even cause you to delete perfectly legitimate files in response.

By following the tips above and becoming actively engaged in your own security, you'll not only be protecting yourself, you'll be contributing to the protection and betterment of the Internet as a whole. There is far more good than bad on the Internet.

Remember, The goal isn't to be paranoid. The goal is to be cautious, aware, and even suspicious.

Removing an infection, once you have it, can be very frustrating and time consuming also, and remember, most Malware infections disable processes on your computer that allow programs like virus removal tools from running, making it almost impossible to remove the infection while the computer is running. In this case, the Hard Disk Drive inside your computer would have to be removed, and installed into another computer as a slave drive to remove the infection.

If you have an infection, and can not remove it yourself, or are not sure if you even have an infection, call us here at SMC Computers on 82629200, or call into our store, and we can remove it for you.

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