Monday, March 21, 2011

This post will be the start of 12 ways to Avoid viruses

Here at the shop we get asked alot "how do I get these viruses?"

Well Chris and I came up with a list that will alot of people out.
so, here we go!!!

1. You know not to except email attachments from people that you do not know, but most viruses are spread from contacts that you DO know. Avoid “chain” emails from friends. Do you have a friend that sends you jokes, inspirational emails, “look at this video?” Where did your friend get the email from before they sent it to you? Ask your contacts not to send you these or simply do not open and delete them.

2. Avoid email scam artists and spammers: Many scam artists send email that may look like it’s from an institution that you know, but is not. Pay attention to the reply address. For example, someone from Bank of America would have an email that ends with…a scammer might use or Your best bet is to not reply by email and call your institution by phone or, at the very least, go directly to their website. Do not follow (click) any links from an email claiming to be a company that you know, especially one that handles your finances. If it’s not an attempt to steal your money, then it is likely an attempt to hijack your computer…and then steal your money.

3. Avoid using “file sharing” sites or torrent programs like Limewire, Kazaa, Morpheus, etc. These resources are cesspools for viruses. Households with kids or teenagers are most at risk as they tend to look for songs, video games, ringtones and other things they cannot afford to pay for. It’s never free. You will pay a much higher price for computer repairs then you will to buy a CD at the store or legitimate download.

4. Stay away from “risqué” websites, such as gambling, pornography, free torrents, or anything of an adult or illegal nature. If this is your purpose for using a computer/Internet you are destined to pay for repairs. Also be weary of websites that offer you sales and deals that are ‘too good to be true.’

5. Be careful of external media such as CDs, DVDs, thumbdrives, external hardrives, even digital cameras and ipods..unless it is yours and you are absolutely certain that they are safe. Have you ever seen those digital picture frames at Wallmart that you upload your images to and then hang on your wall? Recently a virus, missed by the manufacturer, was found on a line of those products. Of course, something like that is unlikely, but it just goes to show, there are threats EVERYWHERE.

6. AVG and other virus protection programs have capabilities that will help you when you use a search engine like Google. You will see a green check-mark (meaning safe) next to each link or a warning that the site may be dangerous. Look for and heed these warnings.

7. Windows Users: If you’re ever in a situation on the Internet where something questionable pops up on your screen, immediately hit control+alt+delete, go to the “task manager” and find the “applications” tab (usually it will already be selected), highlight your browser application (ie Internet Explorer, Firefox) and then hit the button marked “end task” (near the bottom). While you want to do this quickly, don’t feel rushed, get it right. Hopefully it wasn’t a real threat but, if you're lucky, you will end the process before anything bad can happen..this is your best response at that moment. Wait a minute or two and see if there is any odd behavior. If there is, turn off the computer and consult a technician. IMPORTANT: Today’s browsers are made by default to open the last page visited. Your browser likely has an option to turn this feature off. We recommend doing this. Use the ‘help’ option of your browser or visit the developer’s website to learn how to achieve this.
Suggestion: Open your web browser and practice using control+alt+delete to end the process before a problem happens. This way, if a situation arises, you will be prepared.

8. Viruses for Apple/Macintosh are heavily on the rise. Don’t think because you use a Mac that you are completely safe on the internet. The same goes for Linux users. Although Linux viruses are very unlikely, Windows/Mac viruses can still be stored in a file on a Linux machine and inadvertently transferred to your other machines by way of external device. Use the same caution as if you were on Windows. You have nothing to loose by practicing safety.

9. When it comes to computers, treat your friends as strangers. Don’t allow friends or family members to run external media (thumbnails, CDs, SOFTWARE PROGRAMS) on your machine. Even if not a virus, everyone’s machine is their own personal space, why put yours at risk? If your friends have pictures, music, or videos to show you, look at it on their machine or on Youtube.

10. If you are on a business network and use “shared files” or perhaps FTP transfers, be careful. Just open what you need to. In the event of a virus or malware, it is a lot easier for a technician to investigate the source when the user knows exactly what might have caused the problem.

11. If you download a file, before you open it, right-click on that file and choose to scan it first with your virus protection software. If you are downloading music or other media from a questionable source, be weary of zip or compressed files. These are often used in an attempt to avoid detection.

12. AVOID THE FAKE REMODY: Once you have a virus or malware, you may get prompts conveniently directing you to that special virus removal tool on the internet that you can download for a certain price. This is a scam! Don’t buy it! The truth is that the virus you currently have was likely repackaged by a scam artist that DIDN’T CREATE IT…and doesn’t know how to remove it either. They just put their Paypal address on it and will scam you out of your money. Many viruses are designed to make your legitimate Norton, AVG or whatever removal program you use ineffective so that you will feel desperate and look for another it?

One other bonus note, if you think you’ve gotten a virus, DO NOT use the Windows System Restore (to an earlier date) Function. A virus is a program and the restore function does not remove programs. By using System Restore, you will likely cause other mistakes in configuration and/or make it more difficult to remove the problem.