How to Prevent Virus Attacks on a Computer


Viruses are malignant programs that attack computer hardware or software, causing malfunction or even total data loss. Viruses may spread through portable media such as flash disks, floppies and CDs, or access the computer system via insecure networks or online downloads. Read on to learn how to protect your PC from virus attacks.

  • Install an antivirus program on each of your computers. These are programs developed to identify and neutralize or get rid of viruses from your computer. They analyze your computer system and disinfects it of any existing viruses. Antivirus programs also prevent malicious code from copying itself to your hard disk and accessing data on the computer. Many antivirus program are available in the market, both free and commercial. These brands include Kaspersky, AntiVir and Macafee (see Resources below).

  • Secure your Internet connection using a firewall. A firewall is software or a hardware device developed to prevent unauthorized access to your computer by viruses and from hackers. Without an active firewall, your computer will be vulnerable to getting infected by a malicious program, often within minutes of connecting to the Internet. See Resources below for how to choose a firewall.

  • Isolate any infected computers or drives and disconnect them from the Internet until you have run an antiviral program. Workstations on networks that are infected with viruses should be isolated and disinfected before being restored into the network.

  • Update your antivirus programs on a regular basis. If possible, set up the program to automatically alert you when updates are available from the manufacturer. This will help ensure that it can detect and get rid of new known viruses, which are always being developed. Make a practice of running the antivirus program on a regular basis. Stay up-to-date on security updates and vulnerability patches for computer software you have installed on your PC.

  • Scan any email attachments or any files downloaded from the Internet before you open them, to ensure that there is no malicious program in the download. Never download email attachments that are not from trusted sources, especially if it has the .exe extension. Scan any flash disks, floppies or other storage media before use--particularly if they are from unknown sources. These media are notorious for spreading viruses to other machines that are not infected.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always back up your data, because there are always new viruses being developed, and there is no antivirus program that can claim 100 percent protection from all viruses that will ever be developed.

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