by Staff Writer
Many people's computers have become central to their lives. Unfortunately, these computers are also vulnerable to attack from a variety of sources, with viruses being one of the most malicious and troublesome. A virus may be written simply to try to damage the files on your computer, or it may act as a way for a hacker to access your computer. Clearly, if you want to keep your computer -- and the information you keep on it -- safe from these kinds of threats, then you'll want to take steps to keep your computer safe from viruses. This means getting security and utilities software, such as an antivirus program.
Undertand viruses. One saving grace of viruses is that, like the programs you install on your computer, they generally can't do anything until they're run. Unfortunately, some of the more clever viruses are designed to trick the user into running them without realizing that a threat exists. For example, in the earlier days of email, it was fairly common for people's email programs to automatically save and run attachments in emails; if that attachment was a virus, then that virus was basically allowed to infect the user's computer as soon as they checked their email. Of course, with a good bit of caution and some good judgment, anyone can keep from being blindsided like this.
Sometimes a virus may be hidden inside another program that appears entirely benign. In this case, it's important to have antivirus software that can spot the hidden threat and neutralize it before it does any damage.
Get yourself high-quality virus protection software. Without any antivirus software, the user is saddled with the responsibility for detecting viruses and preventing them from damaging their computer. Even the most savvy computer user would find this a time-consuming and formidable task. Instead of leaving anything to chance, invest in some antivirus software that will do the guarding for you. And should your computer become infected with a virus, that same software will do everything it can to restore your computer to a normal, working condition. (It may not be able to undo everything, particularly if files were deleted or if the virus transmitted personal information to identity thieves or other malicious characters.)
Keep your antivirus software up to date. Although the latest antivirus software can protect your computer from an enormous inventory of existing viruses, it won't necessarily be able to safeguard your computer from any new viruses that are developed. For this reason, companies that produce antivirus software often include a one-year subscription to keep your antivirus up-to-date so that it can recognize any new viruses that may manifest. You can often continue this subscription beyond the first year so that your antivirus stays on the cutting edge of virus protection for years to come.