By The Computer Quack
Before we go about protecting your PC, the first thing we must know
is: IS IT INFECTED?
It is pointless installing antivirus software on an infected PC, as many of
the new Viruses detect your countermeasure and delete or disable it,
rendering it useless. So the first thing to do is scan your PC thoroughly
for any signs of infection.
Fortunately, there are a number of free online scanners available on the
Internet that allows you to do this without installing any permanent
software on your PC. Most of these will only work on Microsoft Internet
Trend Micro Housecall:
BitDefender Online Scanner:
Kaspersky Free Virus Scan:
F-Secure Online Scanner:
Run any one of these and see if your PC is already infected with something
malicious (or “malware” as we will call it here). If it is, the chances are
that you either have no antivirus software running, or you have not kept it
up to date. If you do have an infection, install one of the freeware anti-virus
programs listed below, and try and clean the PC. If the infection cannot be
removed, you may need to use a specialist tool; there are several listed at:
VIRUSES AND TROJANS
Viruses and Trojans are probably the most prevalent form of hostile
content on the Internet. They are usually attached to emails sent to
thousands of computers simultaneously.
Some viruses do no damage at all; they simply install themselves on the PC
and try and continue to spread by sending themselves to other computers.
Others are very dangerous, and can damage or destroy software on your
Trojans are usually a more sinister threat, since they are not designed to
replicate themselves, but are mostly intended to fulfill a specific function,
which is normally to relieve you of your money, directly or indirectly.
One example of this is to modify your Internet information so that you are
redirected from valid web sites to a fake copy set up by the criminals that
control them. This most often happens with Internet Banking, in an attempt
at fooling you into entering your logon and password. (Note this is similar
to “Phishing”, which is described in more detail below).
It is very important that you have anti-virus software installed on your
computer. However, you must not just install anti-virus software and forget
about it! New viruses and Trojans are released every day, so you must make
sure that your anti-virus software updates regularly (daily is as good as
any) to protect you against emerging threats.
Also, because new Viruses and Trojans hit the Internet every day, it is not
enough to rely on your antivirus software to catch everything. If you
receive ANY email with an attachment, and you were not expecting it, then DO
NOT OPEN IT. Even if it looks as if it comes from someone you know, you
cannot be too careful, and it is best to check first before opening an
Below, you can find several very good, and more importantly FREE anti-virus
programs which you can download from the Internet and install on your PC. If
you like any of the programs, you can often also purchase a “professional”
edition, which has more features, but if you want to save money, the free
versions are fine just as they are.