We’ve all been there at some point: our computer has suddenly become slow, or perhaps unwanted popups are appearing even if you haven’t navigated to a new page. There’s a million-and-one symptoms that point to one awful cause: you’ve downloaded a computer virus.
While there are plenty of tools out there that can help clean your PC if you’ve downloaded a virus or some malware, it’s a cumbersome process that can be by turns annoying and even annoying. Once your computer starts acting funny, it makes you wonder if the hardware itself has been damaged, or if you have somehow leaked information onto the internet. Contracting a computer virus can be a traumatic experience that’s best avoided in the first place?
But what’s the best way to avoid computer viruses?
Just like in real-life, computers contract viruses via “vectors” or by common pathways, much like human being contract colds. Here’s a couple of common vectors and how to protect against them:
Clicking on malicious links
One of the most common “vectors” is by clicking a link on a website that activates malicious code in your web browser, which then (speaking in very general terms) infects your computer. You may see an an ad prompting you to download a security patch for Windows, or it may be a “warning” that you’ve got a security threat (possibly a virus) on your computer, but if you click on the button you can get “help” immediately. Once you click on the button, of course, you download a virus or malicious program.
How to protect yourself: Think before you click! It pays to know that not everything you see on the internet is legitimate. Examine the site to see if it is a genuinely bonafide business. Do a bit of internet sleuthing first to make sure the site is legitimate.
Downloading an .exe program by mistake from email
With computer security, “trust” is always one of the first things to think about. If you are reasonably sure you trust a website such as YouTube or your local newspaper, you feel comfortable clicking on links. As well, when you receive an email from a family member or work colleague, you generally trust that whatever they’re sending you is going to be safe.
However, sometimes viruses take advantage of the trust built into email. For example, a trusted colleague may send you something that looks like a photo, but is actually an “.exe” program (.exe programs are “executable” programs that have permission to make changes to your computer, and can install something malicious). So, you click on a photo that instead turns out to be a nasty program.
How to protect yourself: Think before you click! If it seems unusual that someone is sending you a photo or other document as an email attachment, check with the person first, as their own computer may have become infected with a virus. Warning signs can include spelling mistakes in the message, or failing to use your name in the salutation. As well, it pays to use a webmail service like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or Windows Live Mail. Webmail services will scan email attachments automatically with up-to-date virus directories. It’s safe, easy and fast.
Making sure your computer’s anti-virus software is kept up to date is also important as well.
If you’re keeping safe online and your computer is healthy and clean, but you’re still experiencing a slow PC, then it may be time to give PC Tuneup Maestro a try.