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How can I avoid getting viruses?

There are millions of viruses and spyware out there on the Internet trying to get onto your PC. So how do you protect yourself?

Unfortunately, there is no single software available that will protect your PC from everything, but here are several things that you can do to increase your chances of using your PC online and not getting it infected:

Antivirus Software - Install a good antivirus software with real time scanning and firewall. We recommend Norton Internet Security 2010 with Parental Controls and SPAM Filter. The SPAM Filter will help by blocking delivery of some emails that will have links to viruses.

Email Attachments - Be very careful what you open in emails. If your friend sent you a video and something doesn't look right about the email, check with your friend before opening it. You have to use some common sense and judgment here, but be sure you know what you are opening before you do.

Downloads - This is the killer. Likely where most users get there computers infected is from downloads they actually opened themselves. If you try to open a file that someone sent you and it has to download a viewer or program to open it... don't do it. It's a trap. This kind of thing has been happening a lot on facebook. You click to watch a video that your friend supposedly posted and it says you are missing a plugin. You download the plugin and now you are infected and another fake video is posted to your facebook page so you can help infect your friends. Other places you download things will get you too like Limewire, MySpace,etc.

Limited Users - In Windows XP, ou have the ability to make a user a "Limited User" or a "Computer Administrator". We recommend creating one administrator account for installing software, then making all other users limited. This will help to stop some downloads from installing when you are using a limited account. Windows Vista and Windows 7 have implemented User Account Control which requires users to approve most installs, but many users are not very careful about the installs they okay.

Most of the viruses we are seeing currently show up as fake antivirus software on your PC. They tell you that you are infected, but to clean the problem, you first have to buy their software. Do not do this. It will not make the problem any better. Some of the best software for cleaning this kind of infection is Malwarebytes. To read more about it go to http://sugarlandpc.com/computercorner and search for Malwarebytes.

Hopefully some of these tips will help you to browse the web a little more safely.

Posted by Charles Swihart on 3/1/2010

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