Computers have become almost indispensable today. However, it is after all a machine and it too needs care to remain functional all the time. So, wherever Internet technology comes into picture, computer security is a subject of major concern. This is because the PC is exposed to many viruses and malware that can harm its functioning.
Computer viruses are malicious programs that start operating anonymously from any location on your system. Like biological viruses, they also replicate themselves and spread from one workstation to another in a network. They are primarily responsible for sudden deletion and corruption of files.
Besides, they hamper the security of important documents stored in your system and crash your system's RAM (Random Access Memory). Signs such as an extremely slow system, abrupt reboots, blue error screens, a lot of undefined and random errors, and a large number of pop up windows opening simultaneously, indicate a possible virus or a spyware attack!
There are different types of viruses such as spyware, adware, Trojan horses, web bugs and worms which also harm your PC. They self infest without the knowledge of your system and corrupt its sensitive data.
Methods to Get Rid of Computer Viruses
Choosing an antivirus software
Generally, an antivirus software is a part of your system as a pre-installed feature. However, the market offers you better choices always. Some of the leading antivirus software include,
- Quick Heal
McAfee and Norton are sturdy retail antivirus software of which McAfee is the oldest and Norton is the heaviest. Although Norton is one of the best antivirus programs made, its installation may slowdown the system as it is a bulky program. Nowadays, AVG is quite a popular one as it upgrades itself at regular durations without prompting the user each time.
Using online antivirus software and rescue disks
Computer viruses keep upgrading like the antivirus programs. At times, they do not let you access the antivirus software installed in the system. Here are some online virus scanning softwares that provide free tools to tackle risky situations,
- McAfee scanner - Highly recommended
- Avast Virus cleaner
- Trend Housecall
- Kaspersky online virus scanner
- Panda Activescan
Rescue disks can also help you get rid of such problems. Most antivirus software on installation, ask the user to create a 'rescue disk' and prompt him for reboot. Rescue disks load the antivirus software even before the operating system loads. Hence, the virus detection and removal becomes easy as the user gets access to the antivirus programs.
A very crucial point to be remembered is that updation of antivirus software is as important as installing them in the system.
Using anti spyware software
Spyware are a high security risk to your system. These programs spy on your system, steal important information and alter system configuration. Signs of spyware attacks can be confirmed with unusual changes in web browsers, search engines, random error messages and a very slow system. The best remedy for this is to install a sturdy anti spyware software.
There are many free spyware removal programs available in the market, which can be used to get rid of computer viruses. Some of the best recommended anti spyware programs are,
- Windows Defender
- Spybot search and destroy
Using anti adware software
Adware are annoying programs that are responsible for the uncontrolled number of pop up advertisements clogging your web browsers. Not only do they slow down your system, but at times they self install unnecessary software without the knowledge of the system. For removal of adware, Lavasoft's Ad-adware is the best! You can even use AwdCleaner for the same.
Using firewall to get rid of computer viruses
Firewalls are either hardware or software, and sometimes a combination of both. They regulate network traffic by monitoring port activity of the system based on a set of pre-defined security policies. These policies list IP addresses and ports to be blocked or allowed based on the risk proposed.
Some of the best firewall products available in the market are,
- Online Armor Personal Firewall
- Comodo Internet Security
- Little Snitch
- Zone Alarm Free Firewall
- PC Tools Firewall
- Ashampoo Firewall
- Tiny Wall
Immediate actions against a possible Virus Attack
- Stop working. Save the necessary documents and close all the windows.
- Don't delete the files assuming the worst. Take a backup of all the important data.
- Run antivirus software immediately. In case it asks for any updations, update the software and run it.
- If problems persist, there is a possibility that the system is under a virus/spyware attack.
Some Tips for Intelligent Browsing
- Browse intelligently. Internet is a web of networks. Hence, the system is always prone to virus attacks. Do not visit sites that might be a source of malicious content.
- Be careful when going for free software downloads, as most of them contain spyware.
- Maintain secure browser settings every time you access your system. Nowadays, every browser gives users the convenience to adjust browser security settings. Go to Tools and access the security tab to alter browser settings if needed. You may also adjust the settings such that cookies get stored only for secure websites.
- Firewalls are a must for your system when it comes to network security. However, nowadays, Apple's MAC OS and Windows XP have inbuilt firewall programs.
- Read online license agreements, privacy statements, and security warnings before downloading software. Agreeing with ignorance can invite malware. Consult the IT service center or search online to confirm if any malware has been reported for the software you want to download. This will prevent the system from spyware carriers like Kazaa and Grokster.
- Do not open unsolicited email attachments containing word documents and Powerpoint presentations. These are gateways to install viruses in your system. Also, be cautious while clicking on online messages claiming to alert you about your system security risk. Most of the time, they are links for installation of spyware.
- Spyware threat is obvious in case of peer-to-peer file-sharing services. So, it is advised not to download any executable files from such shared connections.
- Last but not the least, update antivirus and firewall software regularly. Most of them today are self programmed to update themselves after a specific duration.
Prevention is better than cure does not apply to health alone. It is always better to prevent the enemy from attacking, rather than letting the enemy attack and then fighting back. Upgrade your system with the latest antivirus software today!