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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How to prevent a virus from infecting your PC

PC viruses is a real threat; some steal information from you and this could be your email address or online bank account, copy important files in your PC, make your PC a platform for another attack and some can even damage your hardware. So it is important to know some preventive tips and measures to avoid being virus-infected. But first we need to know how a virus infects your PC. Here are the most common:

1. Through browsing malicious sites that transfers a virus to your PC
2. Through email or by clicking on a spam message that triggers the installation of the virus
3. Installing applications with trojan horse virus
4. Through a removable media from an infected computer (eg. flash/usb devices, external drives)
5. Virus that propagates in your network or LAN

Prevention tips:

1. Be cautious on visiting an unknown website, there are some websites that contains viruses that could infect your PC. High risk websites are: Porn related sites, and some free download sites. Be careful on sites that require a fill-up form before you can download or let you install something first, the information you enter can be used to send spam messages or use your name for their purpose (identity theft). It is also advisable to use Mozilla Firefox than Internet Explorer. IE often have security holes that can be used by a virus or hacker and unless you update your Windows regularly, you might be at risk just by using IE.

2. Large email providers like "gmail, yahoo, hotmail" offers a good protection in filtering spam messages but sometimes one may get through. It is usually very easy to detect a spam message though. They usually have some promotional item that you need to click to claim or something like that. What ever you do, don't click anything on the spam message, some say click to claim your price and before you know it, a virus is automatically installed in your PC by clicking it or sensitive information from your PC is being stolen.

3. Be careful of installing unknown software's. One example is this: a site offers you to download something for free like a movie blockbuster not even released yet. After you finished downloading the file, it asks you to download a special unknown player xyz to be able to play the movie. This is a high risk probability that their asking you to install an application with a trojan in it.

4. Viruses can also propagate or spread through removable drive and almost all of them activates when "autorun" is initiated. One way to prevent this is to disable autorun in your PC. Follow this step to disable autorun: (WinXP, Vista)

Option 1
a.To use this method, Open Notepad and copy/paste the following into a text file:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\IniFileMapping\Autorun.inf]

Save the file as something.reg. (You have to be sure to change the "Save File as Type" to "All Files" before saving, or Windows will try to save it as a .txt even if you typed in .reg.

b. Locate the file you just saved and double-click the file to run it. You will receive a prompt asking if you want to add the data to the registry. Click yes to allow the modification.

Option 2

If you don't want to modify the registry you can also use some tools that will do this for you. A free tool that you can use is Tweak UI from Microsoft. More information on the free tools can be found on this post "Free cool tools from Microsoft".

5. Virus can also spread through your LAN connection. One way to prevent this is having a firewall. (Windows has a built-in firewall and should be enabled by default) If this is disabled, a windows security alert is found in your taskbar. Just click this and switch-on your firewall. It is also important to have good password in your computer and user accounts as this could be exploited by viruses (latest threat is the conficker virus).

6. And lastly, it is very important to have a good anti-virus installed in your PC. If you don't want to spend money on it. You can use free anti-virus like the AVG free and Avira free edition. You can also combine spybot search and destroy for adware/spyware detection. For those who are willing to spend some cash, you can get the recommended and top rated anti-virus "Kaspersky 2009". You can get it for the best price here and browse other good anti-virus software's.