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How can I protect my computer from viruses?

Taking defensive action is the best solution to protect your computer from the many thousands of viruses that loom in cyberspace. email virus protection is the first step in protecting yourself from harmful computer viruses. The following steps may also significantly reduce your chances of being harmed by them.

1. Install Anti-virus software. No anti-virus software is capable of protecting you from all viruses, but they act as a resourceful companion by helping you to scan files and shared floppy disks and will also keep you informed of the latest viruses.

Note: To be best protected, make sure that you update your anti-virus software on a regular basis.

2. Use diligence with all disks. Always scan disks from unknown sources with your anti-virus software, especially disks that are shared by several people.

3. Download with care. Download all files from disks or shared files on a network into a special folder on your hard drive and scan them with your anti-virus software.

4. Before reading attachments, scan them. Some email services, such as emailMyName, will automatically scan email attachments before delivering them to your inbox. Others will not. Be sure to open attachments with care and always scan them with at least one anti-virus method.

5. Be wary of attachments in emails from friends that you were not expecting. Many viruses will email themselves to everyone on someone's address list, and include an innocuous sounding message like "check this out" or "let me know what you think of this." If a friend sends you an email with that has an attachment, and the message isn't personalized with your name and theirs, check with your friend to make sure that they were the one that actually sent you the message, rather than a virus on their computer that was masquerading as them.

6. Save shared files in RTF or ASCII format. Saving shared files in RTF or ASCII format will help prevent macro viruses, because neither format saves macro viruses.

WARNING! It is important to note that if you choose ASCII format to save your files, you will lose all of the formatting within the document. If formatting is important, stick to RTF.

7. Back it up! Back up everything in a safe place that is separate from your hard drive.

8. Do not use illegal or pirated software on your machine. These software programs could be infected.

9. Use shareware with caution. Do not use shareware unless you are absolutely sure that the software is free from viruses.

Helpful links for virus information:

McAfee Anti-Virus Information Site


    Symantec Security Response

    Other questions about viruses:

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