Virus Detection and Prevention Tips

By
Real Estate Agent with Eiglarsh Realty

Many computer users don't consider the consequences of their machine being virus infected until it's too late! Aside from losing everything, you may also cause your machine to run slow or perhaps even infect others.  Here's some tips courtesy of McAfee and other sources along with my comments:

Do not open any files attached to an email from an unknown, suspicious or untrustworthy source. (often times you can infect your machine even from a trusted source!)

Do not open any files attached to an email unless you know what it is, even if it appears to come from a dear friend or someone you know. Some viruses can replicate themselves and spread through email. Better be safe than sorry and confirm that they really sent it.

Do not open any files attached to an email if the subject line is questionable or unexpected. If the need to do so is there always save the file to your hard drive before doing so.  

Delete chain emails and junk email. Do not forward or reply to any to them. These types of email are considered spam, which is unsolicited, intrusive mail that clogs up the network. (Many of these chain emails are from "email harvester" looking to collect valid email addresses to use for spamming.  Many of these are hoaxes. Check with Snopes.com or another reputable urban legend site before forwarding these emails. You'd be surprised how most of these emails are fake or were real but from years ago!)  

Do not download any files from strangers. (be very careful here! Most of these are infected. Often times you may not see any immediate damage, if at all, but your private information, like passcodes or banking info, may be forwarded to a 3rd party)  

Exercise caution when downloading files from the Internet. Ensure that the source is a legitimate and reputable one. Verify that an anti-virus program checks the files on the download site. If you're uncertain, don't download the file at all or download the file to a floppy and test it with your own anti-virus software. (watch those file sharing sites)  

Update your anti-virus software regularly. Over 500 viruses are discovered each month, so you'll want to be protected. These updates should be at the least the products virus signature files. You may also need to update the product's scanning engine as well. (I would recommend not renewing the definitions at the end of your subscription. It's better to buy the latest version. I was infected by a worm with up-to-date definitions. I called Symantec/Norton, only to discover that my version didn't check for the latest type of worm. The newer software would have stopped the infection.)  

Back up your files on a regular basis. If a virus destroys your files, at least you can replace them with your back-up copy. You should store your backup copy in a separate location from your work files, one that is preferably not on your computer. (You can't imagine how bad things would be if you lost your data base! How about losing your email list? Not only can a virus wreak havoc, but what about a harddrive failure!? I own about 15 machines and I've lost about 5 harddrives in the past 3 years! It will happen to you at some point. In addition to backing up my data, I use Norton Ghost to make an image of my harddrive. This way, if my harddrive fails, I can restore my machine without having to reinstall programs, some of which I no longer have or that I downloaded)  

When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and do not open, download, or execute any files or email attachments. Not executing is the more important of these caveats. Check with your product vendors for updates which include those for your operating system web browser, and email. One example is the security site section of Microsoft located at http://www.microsoft.com/security. (Updating your system is one of the easiest ways to prevent infection. Many people don't realize that if you turn your computer off at night, you may not be getting the updates downloaded automatically and you may need to check for updates manually.)

I highly recommend you download LavaSoft's Ad-Aware and Spybot Search & Destroy. You can find both by doing a Google search. They are free and can be used together on the same machine to clean yourself of "spyware" which will also slow down your machine.

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Rainer
49,356
Bob Corcoran
Corcoran Consulting & Coaching - Swansea, IL

Great information, now all people have to do is take the time to keep thir computers updated.  I recommend that they hire an IT guy to come in on a regular basis to do this for them.

 Bob

Sep 04, 2006 11:07 AM #1
Rainmaker
365,204
Carolyn Nelson
Realty One Carolina, LLC - Burlington, NC
Your Triangle to Triad Real Estate Expert!

I'm on my computer for 16+ hours per day. To protect my clients, I run my CCleaner every 3 hours, my antivirus program twice a day, 12 noon and at 8 pm. Immediately after the virus program runs, I have the backup drive set to do an automatic backup. 

My main system has a DVD burner so all files are also backed up on DVD in additional to individual client folders have their own DVD.I need that extra level of precaution.

Since most internet security programs are so weak, I have decided to use PC-Cillin. Unlike the results of Norton and McAfee, I am not bombarded with spam.

Many don't realize that just because you have a Antivirus program logo on your desktop, it does not mean that the program is active and up-to-date.

I would also recommend a program lik Spam Arrest if you have a big issue with spams. 

Sep 04, 2006 11:21 AM #2
Rainmaker
340,152
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Excellent posts!  Now if only everyone would take your advice and get their computers protected!  I use Trend Microcillin, after having used McAfee for a number of years. 

Sep 04, 2006 12:21 PM #3
Rainer
8,382
Lisa Simpson
Mortgage Options - Summerville, SC
I have a great IT guy, I have had to call him at the oddest hours, because I am always on the computer.....He always responds and gets me up and running.
Sep 04, 2006 01:17 PM #4
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David Eiglarsh

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