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  1. How do I protect myself?

  2. Enable Smart Screen Filter in Internet Explorer.

  3. Enable Security Options in Firefox.

  4. Enable Security Options in Google Chrome.

  5. Enable automatic updates.

  6. Enable firewall.

  7. Enable security alerts.

  8. Update virus definitions.

  9. Schedule daily scanning.

  10. Free Antivirus Software

Virus & Spyware Protection Guide

Here are some helpful descriptions from Wikipedia.

  • What is a Computer Virus?

    A computer virus is a computer program that can replicate itself and spread from one computer to another. The term "virus" is also commonly, but erroneously, used to refer to other types of malware, including but not limited to adware and spyware programs that do not have a reproductive ability.
  • What is Spyware?

    Spyware is a type of malware (malicious software) installed on computers that collects information about users without their knowledge. The presence of spyware is typically hidden from the user and can be difficult to detect. Spyware is often secretly installed on a user's personal computer without their knowledge. However, some spyware such as keyloggers may be installed by the owner of a shared, corporate, or public computer on purpose in order to intentionally monitor users.
  • What is Malware?

    Malware, short for malicious software, is software designed to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems. While it is sometimes software, it can also appear in the form of script or code. Malware is a general term used to describe any kind of software or code specifically designed.
  • What is Phishing?

    Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire information (and sometimes, indirectly, money) such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public. Phishing is typically carried out by e-mail spoofing or instant messaging, and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one.
  • What is a Worm?

    A computer worm is a standalone malware computer program that replicates itself in order to spread to other computers. Often, it uses a computer network to spread itself. This is due to security shortcomings on the target computer. Unlike a computer virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program. Worms almost always cause at least some harm to the network, even if only by consuming bandwidth, whereas viruses almost always corrupt or modify files on a targeted computer.

Typical Scenario:

You've installed that free, full-featured demo of your favorite video game you downloaded from Limewire or another file-sharing web site. You forgot to scan the file before double-clicking on it, or you scanned the file with virus software that wasn't up-to-date. You can never get the game to install correctly. Oh well. No worries.

All of a sudden, some annoying little issues start to "pop-up" in the lower right-hand corner of your screen. "Warning! Danger! ... Your virus software has expired!" it screams at you. "Click here to fix!"

You click on the link. It takes you to a web page advertising a new product you simply must have to be protected from the latest dangers. It is called "Anti-Virus Pro 2012" (this is just an example, they could have many different names, and the scenarios may differ slightly).

All the great features are listed on the web page. "Only $49.99" says the web page. "Hmmmm ... " you think. "I suppose that isn't too bad, if I consider the risk is losing all of my data, my identity, or worse ... "

So you get out your credit card, and punch in the numbers . . . Gotcha!!! You have just been phished, and if you're like many of us, you probably won't notice anything until you get your credit card bill. Oh, and the cost will be substantially more than $49.99, by-the-way. The pop-ups? They usually stick around and can be very difficult to remove.

If the scenario described above, or something similar, has already happened to you ... don't feel bad! It can happen to the best of us, even to experienced techs. What you can do is make sure you take adequate precautions to ensure that it does not happen again.

If you suspect you already have a virus, spyware or some other malware that has infected your computer, we can help you remove it and ensure your system is armed with the latest security measures.

How do I protect myself?      |Top of Page|

The scenario above has two main parts to it. Installing the infected software leading to repeated pop-ups, and phishing.

Phishing is a very low-tech form of piracy, which can be as simple as a phone call from someone posing as a bank official, asking for your pin number, etc, or more involved such as as the web site advertising the fraudulent anti-virus software in the above-scenario. The purpose of phishing is to record your confidential, sensitive personal information, for the purpose of fraud.

Enable Smart Screen Filter in Internet Explorer

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If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer 9, SmartScreen filter is available that will help guard against unsafe sites. Make sure this feature is enabled. This will allow your browser to alert you when you access a web site that is a known or suspected unsafe site. If you have a previous version of Internet Explorer, it would be worth upgrading to the latest version to use this feature.

Enable Security Options in Firefox

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If you are using Mozilla Firefox Version 3 or later, there are built-in security options. Make sure these features are enabled. This will allow your browser to alert you when you access sites trying to install add-ons, reported attack sites, or reported web forgeries.

Enable Security Settings in Google Chrome

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If you are using Google Chrome, there are built-in security options. Make sure these features are enabled. This will allow your browser to alert you against phishing or malware dangers.

Enable Automatic Updates

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Automatic Updates enable your computer to automatically download and install the latest high-security updates from Microsoft's website.

Setting Microsoft's automatic updates is similar to scheduling daily scanning of your computer with your virus software, and equally important. If you typically leave your computer on overnight, you can shedule the updates to download and install at a time you are unlikely to be using your computer, such as 3 AM. Your computer manufacturer may also have security updates.

Enable Firewall

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If you don't have a separate firewall program and you are using a Microsoft operating system, use the free version provided by Microsoft.

Enable Security Alert Settings

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Set the alert settings in the security center of your control panel to alert you if any of your settings are unsafe.

Update Virus Definitions

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Simply having antivirus software installed on your system is not enough! Make sure you keep your virus definitions up-to-date.

Schedule Daily Scanning

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Again, simply having antivirus software installed on your system is not enough! Make sure you schedule daily scanning. If you suspect you already have a virus, spyware or worm that your antivirus software is not picking up, scan in Safe Mode. Safe Mode disables most non-essential startup programs and services, and disables internet access (unless you boot to "Safe Mode With Networking"). Most antivirus programs will continue to function in Safe Mode.

If you need help removing viruses, spyware, malware or worms, please call us at (702) 542-6109 or visit our contact page to schedule an appointment.

Free Antivirus Software

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The following are free tools that are available, which can help you stay protected from viruses and spyware.

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