“I do a scan every week and I don’t detect any viruses! How can my computer suddenly get one?”
We do hear that one a lot. There is a common misconception that if you have an anti-virus software installed on your computer, you will not get viruses and will always be virus free. Everyone is somehow comforted by the safety cloud that an anti-virus software brings.
Don’t get too comfortable…
Truth is, you can still get viruses on your computer even with anti-virus software installed. It doesn’t matter if it is the latest and greatest anti-virus software out there. All computers are susceptible to viruses (that includes Apple Macs and iPhones).
In fact, some of the nasty viruses have been designed to disable your anti-virus software and firewall that’s setup on your computer. This essentially leaves your computer defenseless and lets the viruses have free reign to play havoc on your computer.
How is that possible? It’s all in what you click, what website you are on, and what you are downloading.
So here’s our advice for preventing viruses to all computer users out there:
- Be careful on what you click on when surfing the web or reading emails
If you aren’t sure what it is, delete or ignore it. Delete unknown attachments and never click on unknown/strange links. Links that people often click on without thinking twice are ones that are funny, bizarre and ones that prey on your curiosity. When surfing the web, don’t be quick fingered and click on anything in sight.
- If it is too good to be true, it normally is
Don’t be swayed into clicking on something that is free or enticing. Facebook users beware, those clickable links might be posted on your wall and might seemingly come from a friend of yours.
- Be wary of what you are downloading
Never download music or software from bit torrent sites or sites that offer free music/software e.g. Frostwire or the defunct site Limewire. A virus might be disguised as a game that you want, a video or a song that you are looking for.
- Be careful of who uses your computer
Your friends, family or kids might stumble across a site or link that they might unknowingly click on (without any accountability). Is it worth the hassle of having viruses on your computer and having a near unusable computer?
- Always keep your anti-virus software definitions updated
There are countless new viruses that come out each day, keeping your software definitions updated helps it weed out the new ones and to a certain extent keeps up with proper protection on your computer.
In essence, anti-viruses may keep you partially virus free (maybe up to about 40-50% of the time). The other 50-60% comes from being smart at what you do on the internet. The more you are aware of what you are doing, the better off you’ll be.
Remember, “prevention is better than cure”… always practice safe surfing!