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Preventing Spyware or Virus Infections

The best way to fight malware or viruses is to prevent them from infecting your computer in the first place. You can help keep your computer protected by:

  • Be diligent about what email messages you open and what websites you surf. In my experience, most infections come from one of these two sources. If something doesn’t look right, then investigate it before clicking on it. If you hover above a hyperlink with your mouse pointer, you will usually see the destination URL. If this address does not look legitimate, then it might be a good idea to call someone at that company to see if this is a “real” email.
  • Running the latest version of Windows. Every version of Windows is much more secure than the previous version. Windows 7 is by far much more secure than Windows XP (which is still widely used). Upgrading to Windows 7 will help keep you more secure.
  • Making sure you have the latest security and critical/important updates. These updates come out on a regular basis to help keep you protected from new threats which target Windows, Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader, Flash Player, Shockwave, and many other products. Stay up to date with the latest patches and updates for each. A good start is installing Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Windows 7.
  • Running updated anti-virus & anti-malware/spyware software on your computer. Having security software on your PC is nearly useless if it isn’t being updated on a regular basis. If you are using software provided by your company, chances are these updates are happening automatically. If you are using a product like Norton 360 or AVG, then there are annual subscriptions required to get these regular pattern and engine updates. Make sure you have active subscriptions, and also that your updates are actually being installed.
  • Running firewall software on your computer. Many security suites like Norton 360 come with a software firewall. If yours didn’t, fear not. Windows comes with a simple software firewall
  • Making sure you have a good firewall appliance at the edge of your network, and that it is updated regularly with the latest definitions from the manufacturer. Usually these updates come on a paid subscription basis. These days firewalls aren’t just for corporate networks. It is equally important to have them at the edge of your home network between your cable/DSL modem and your network switch or wireless access point. A firewall appliance will help keep threats from ever reaching your computer. Remember security should always be in multiple layers! By the way, a wireless router is NOT the same as a firewall appliance. Astaro offers a home user license which is free of charge for up to 50 devices.

If you do all of these, your computer is far less likely to contract infections. But no matter how far you take it, chances are something will eventually get through. Don’t worry, even the best of us get an infection from time to time. When computers become infected with a virus or other malware there are steps you can take to fix them. Check my blog next week to find out more on how to fix these types of infections on a Windows PC or laptop.

About the author

Robert Borges

About Robert...

I have been in the IT industry since 1993 focusing mainly in networking. Though I got an early start as an amateur computer enthusiast, and wrote my first database app at age 12, I started my professional career working in the MIS department of one of the largest liquor distributors in the northeast. I started out there as a systems operator on the company’s two mainframe systems. From there I moved into PC support, and help design and implement the company’s first client-server network… This was back in the days of Win NT 3.51. I also worked on my first migration to NT 4.0 back then.

From there I went on to work with Novell 3.x and 4.x along with Windows domains and active directory environments. Working my way up from technician, to specialist, to administrator, and eventually all the way up to Sr. Engineer. I spent many years working for consulting firms, 9 of which I owned and operated my own firm.
Over the years, I have worked with (at an expert level) various versions of: Windows client and server operating systems (including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2);various virtualization technologies (Hyper-V, Virtual Server, Virtual PC, VMware, etc…); MS-SQL server 6.5- 2008 R2; Exchange 4-2010, and much more.

I am now Director of Information Systems at Bay State Integrated Technology focusing on cloud computing and IT service, with expertise in: IT Infrastructure & Architecture, IT Security, and Cloud Computing platforms & technologies (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS).

I am in a constant state of learning about new products, and new versions of products. Many of which we end up implementing in lab environments and sometimes for our clients. I have a pretty broad range of expertise and experience. It is my goal to share some of this experience on this blog to help enrich the IT community.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2012/04/it-security/preventing-spyware-or-virus-infections/

2 pings

  1. Recovering from a Spyware or Virus Infection - Robert Borges Blog » Robert Borges Blog

    […] my previous post (Preventing Spyware or Virus Infections) I explained how to help protect yourself from virus and spyware infections. If you still do […]

  2. 5 Ways to Increase Your Computer’s Speed/Performance - Robert Borges Blog » Robert Borges Blog

    […] If you’re not sure you’re fully protected, check out my previous blog post "Preventing Spyware or Virus Infections".  If you think you might already be infected, take a look at my post "Recovering […]

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