These are human-made software programs created specifically to wreak havoc on personal computers and networks. Over the past few years, and with the proliferation of rapid access to the web, the chances of downloading one of these computer viruses over the Internet has increased dramatically. Currently, the most common way to contract a virus is by opening e-mail attachments.
Some viruses are relatively harmless to
individuals. They just attach themselves to outgoing messages
or e-mail themselves to all the people listed in your address
book. The sudden flood of e-mail overwhelms mail servers,
causing the system to crash. Other viruses are more destructive
and may lie dormant until a certain date. Then they spring
to life to do their dirty deeds. Sometimes a strange message
appears on your screen, or data and programs may be modified.
In the worst case, all the contents of your hard drive may
be wiped out. These pernicious programs start on one computer,
then replicate quickly, infecting other computers around the
There are also those who would 'hack' into your system to steal or destroy your files, or worst of all - wreck your system. These 'people' will gain access to your computer through stealth and by bypassing your security set up.
As an absolute minimum you should have an anti-virus package on your PC. This should ideally be subject to regular updates containing the latest virus information. There are a number of companies who supply these products including Norton and McAfee. For a subscription these products will regularly update your anti-virus database, providing you with the best available protection.
AVG is a FREE anti-virus program which is
very easy to use and provides adequate protection for most
users. Please use the link on the right handside of this page
to visit the AVG website to find out more or to download their free anti-virus software.
It is also recommended that you regularly
back-up your files. There are a number of
systems available including backing up onto the Internet,
Finally, and particularly because of the
increased availability of broadband Internet access, a Firewall
should be considered for installation on your PC. For most
home users a free Firewall is available called 'Zone
Alarm' which can provide you with excellent all
round protection to your PC. Norton and Mcafee also provide
Firewall security products which are typically available from
your local PC supplier.
FREE Edition is the well-known anti-virus protection tool. AVG
Anti-Virus is available free-of-charge to home users for the
life of the product! Rapid virus database updates are available
for the lifetime of the product.