One of the most dreaded things for computer users is a virus. A virus may attack your computer in numerous ways, such as through your email. When you open your email be cautious, sometimes certain attachments may be harmful to your computer. When you click on the attachment, a virus may launch an attack on your computer. A virus can also attack you through an infected disc or downloaded program. When you insert an infected disc into your computer, or run an executable file, a virus may copy itself to the hard drive and replace other files. In some cases a virus can even attack you while you are surfing the Internet innocently! While you go through several web pages, you might run into a site that contains malicious code. You should be careful when visiting unknown sites that request you install any form of software. If you would like to protect yourself from viruses then you should get antivirus software.



There are many companies that make antivirus software, such as Symantec (formerly Norton), AVG, McAfee, Trend Micro, Sophos, Kaspersky, Panda to name a few. These companies are on the Internet 24 hours a day looking for new strains of viruses via honeypots and security researchers. Antivirus software must be updated regularly because new virus strains come out constantly. Reputable antivirus companies provide updates daily. Most antivirus software can be configured to automatically update itself whenever you log on to the Internet. Antivirus software is virtually ineffective when it is not up to date. You should always keep your antivirus software updated in order for it to work as expected, and to ensure that your computer is protected. Many antivirus companies offer free versions of their software, which in many ways offer the same protection as the commercial packages. As long as these free versions are kept up to date, your computer can be protected. Viruses can do all sorts of harmful things to your computer. They can corrupt some of your files or even disable some of your computer data and applications. In severe cases, it can completely destroy the software and data on your computer. Without good antivirus software, you will be vulnerable to many types of these attacks. Imagine how you would feel if you lost all your digital photos!

More recently virus attacks have been used to create armies of hijacked PCs. These ‘botnets’ are used by organised criminals for several illegal purposes. If you have no antivirus protection, your PC is especially vulnerable to such activity. There is even a risk that your personal details and ‘identity’ could be stolen and used to commit crime.

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