In this article we will explain every tip you can use to avoid virus and other malicious software (malware) infection such as worms, trojan, adware, and spyware. As you already know of what damages they can inflict to your system in our early ‘Malicious Software’ coverage, you must be irritated by now. In a time when data exchange traffic is very high and there is almost no spot where a PC is not exposed to the World Wide Web, it is no wonder that to be completely freed by any virus attack someone can advise you to completely disconnect your line to the outside world.

But let me remind you about “The Village”, a movie by M. Night Shyamalan. It pictures a small community that builds a village far from main society after the elders being paranoia with all of the cruelty there are. Sadly, this extreme effort doesn’t work either. Because not only the fear of the outside world itself has been consuming them day and night, the isolation from main society has abandoned them from all access including critical medical treatment.

So this is what we want to emphasize: with all the advantages of World Wide Web has to offer and the concept of rapid information data interchange itself, it is our lost to completely isolate ourselves from the main limelight. So accept the World Wide Web with open arms and embrace it. But, equip yourself with the best knowledge and application to avoid from being another victim.  These are our 10 simple tips to avoid virus infection and other malware:

1. Load only software from original disks or CDs. Pirated or copied software even if it’s from your friends is always a risk for a virus. Why? Unlike general assumption, optical disks can easily become the medium of viruses because not like the old days, now CDs and DVDs can be produced easily in any house in the world with very poor protection of virus.

2. Be careful when opening emails. Do not open the one that you don’t sure where it comes from. Especialy if the title are suspicious and the email contain attachment. If it does contain attachment, scan the attachmet with an antivirus program before opening it. Be cautions of attachments with a double extension, such as .txt.vb or .jpg.exe. Double extensions are often a good indicator that the file is malicious. For extra safety, use email client that support prevention on any active content or remote images popups automatically. If you are using offline email client like Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird, make sure your Antivirus support email scanner function. Please also remind that Microsoft Outlook is more susceptible to worms than other e-mail programs. You might want to consider Pegasus or Mozilla Thunderbird.

3. Execute only programs which you are familiar as to their origin. Do not download software from just any websites. Also, programs sent by email should always be suspicious.

4. Keep your system up-to-date by setting up your computer to automatically download patches and upgrades and any updates to both the operating system and Internet Explorer. Visit Microsoft Update and turn on automatic updating.

5. Install anti-virus, antispyware, and Internet firewall program. Better most, find the one that offers a complete solution to all malicious software threats and firewall function. And although Windows Vista and Windows XP with SP2 have a firewall already built-in and turned on by default, most of the time this is not enough. Once installed, make sure you update your virus definitions in daily basis and run a full system scan in weekly basis.

6. Back up critical files on a regular basis before you encounter a virus or other problems. Turn on the system restore feature option for those of you who has Windows XP and Vista. For those of you who don’t know how click here. Last, don’t forget to change your passwords in regular basis.

7. Be careful when surfing. Avoid visiting and downloading file from suspicious and dangerous websites. These websites usually include those that contain adult content and websites that sell or offer illegal serials and cracks. These kinds of websites usually have so many suspicious popup windows and applications that upload automatically without our knowledge. There are so many other websites that do just like this. Thus, use web browser with capabilities to block pop-ups and active content and the one that also can warn you if the site is unsecure. Mozilla Firefox is our favorite. Combine it with antivirus software that has site scanner ability and you got the ideal pair of prevention scenario. Also please be careful on any unknown intrusive activity. For example if you ever get a dialog box asking if you want to allow an automatic install, say "No" unless you know the site requesting the install and you trust it.

8. Stay informed about recent threats. Read about the latest virus threats so you are aware of the potential danger. You can find this information on many major antivirus vendors’ websites. Or join newsletter both from these vendors and some major authoritative PC’s online magazine to receive the latest malware threats.

9. Avoid using file sharing application if your system is not equipped with adequate protection. Even if you do have, you need a very best of them to get you protected from virus that lurking in the channel. Why? It is because there is almost no guarantee that the file you are accessing and downloading are virus free since it comes from unknown and untrusted source. Furthermore it might be the virus itself. Cloud computing technology that is integrated into antivirus or internet security suite can effectively help you from threats that come from social channels like this one thanks to their actual community-based reporting.

10. Consider to deactivate autorun function for all removable media drives like floppy drive, optical drive, and flash disk. You need to do this because even the most advanced virus out there is still need a trigger to run, be it a click from your mouse, a command from a recognized program, or a comand from Windows itself such as commanding a newly inserted media to run its autorun program. Autorun specifically designed to make us enjoy the contents automatially: CD music and DVD movies played automatically by your favorites multimedia player application,  data files automatically explored by your Windows Explorer, and your new bought application directly bring you to the front window. But what if the autorun program is the one that you don’t wanted at all like virus? So it is better to leave autorun function unactive.

For final word, we recommend you to just stay sane and don’t be paranoid. Some people get really weird about viruses, spyware, and other malware threats. What’s important is that you still feel freedom in using your computer as you like it while being optimally protected all along. Once you follow these steps, it shouldn't be a big problem. 

Quick Tips

Do and Don't When You are Infected by Virus

DO: Disconnect from your home network

DON'T: Shop online or enter credit card or banking information online.

Hold off online shopping or entering your credit card information until you're sure your PC is safe. You don’t want to be more victimized by giving chance for the viruses and other malware to steal your credit card information and other personal data for the purposes of fraud and identity theft.

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