At least with a stomach virus you may drop a few pounds; a virtual virus just screws up your computer. Take these precautions to avoid problems.
Step 1: Install anti-virus software Install anti-virus software that regularly updates itself. Viruses are constantly mutating into new forms.
Step 2: Keep spies out Use a spyware scanner. This protects you from inadvertently installing a system that will help advertisers spam you by monitoring your internet use. Spyware is usually unleashed when you download a peer-to-peer file-swapping product.
Step 3: Put up a wall Install a firewall. This software guards against online attacks from other computers.
TIP: You can find free safety software on the internet.
Step 4: Be leery of attachments Don’t open attachments unless you’re absolutely sure you know who sent them. Don’t even open e-mails from unknown senders.
Step 5: Check your files Before you shut down for the day, go to 'find' and check the files that were created that day. Delete any that you don’t recognize.
Step 6: Don’t be fooled Don’t fall for e-mails that warn you that you have a worm and urge you to download a safety program. This is a ploy to get you to install a virus!
TIP: Bad grammar and/or misspellings are often a tipoff that a virus warning is bogus.
Step 7: Always update Don’t ignore those updates that your anti-virus software manufacturer periodically offers; they will help protect your computer from viruses.
FACT: A Chinese man was sentenced in 2007 to four years in prison for unleashing a computer virus that infected millions of computers.