Protecting Your System from Viral Invasions

Mom may well have been right when she said, "prevention is better than cure". When it comes to fighting viruses, no statement has ever been truer, particularly if you tell yourself that someday you are going to take all the proper precautions. Will that day be today, or the day after you lose all your data to a critter?

If you bought your computer in the past three years, chances are that it had some antivirus software preinstalled. If not, the latest critter can also be wiped out by free, trial versions of anti-virus software available on the sites of most antivirus vendors.

HouseCall, a free, online value added antivirus service offered by Tiscali and powered by Trend Micro, can be downloaded for a quick fix from http://www.tiscali.co.za/services/housecall_index.asp, and will scan your PC and fix any virus detected and then uninstall itself.

Beware, however, that antivirus software stops being current the day it's slapped on your machine. Virus definitions need to be updated at least once a month to ensure effective protection against the dozens of new strains and variations of viruses appearing each month.
To check how current your antivirus definitions are, click on the icon in your Windows system tray (on the opposite of your Start button, near the clock) or click on the Start button, choose Programs, and look for the name of your antivirus software. If your software doesn't display the date of its most recent update on the main menu, try choosing About from the Help menu.

That should tell you what software version you have and may even say when it was last updated. The same set of Help menus should also give you instructions on how to update those antivirus definitions.

Ideas to add to your arsenal of infection-fighting actions:

  • Ensure that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) offers you peace of mind by delivering virus free e-mail to your mailbox.
  • Virus-scan every floppy disk that goes into your computer.
  • Don't open unexpected files or attachments from people you do know until you've confirmed why they sent them, and don't accept files or attachments from people you don't know.
  • Don't accept downloads from strange Web sites, unless the Web site has a good reason for sending you something to download.
  • Scan files after you download them and make sure that you scan all files or programs you download before you install or run them
Article by: Michelle Branco - www.tiscali.co.za