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Do you think you have a virus? Go Here

Viruses and Trojans

Virus
A virus is a program that attaches itself to computer files and makes copies of itself. Viruses are usually introduced via email attachments or downloaded from the internet. They may also cause damage to the system that they infect: changing settings, modifying or deleting data, making the system unstable, or gaining control of the system in order to launch attacks on other systems.

Worms
Worms are similar to viruses but can replicate and send themselves through emails, etc, by searching through the infected system for email addresses and using the infected system's email sender address to hide itself.

Trojan
A Trojan is a malicious piece of software disguised as a desirable program. (It is named after the Trojan Horse used by the Greeks to invade Troy). Trojans are a transport agent for any type of malware (malicious software). They may contain a virus, a worm, keyloggers, diallers, etc. See Spyware

What to look for
Look for anything out of the ordinary, anything that doesn't seem quite right. Recognise anything that doesn't run the way you would normally expect it to. Don't open attachments on emails from sources you don't know and even then be careful to scan first as they may have a virus attached unknowingly. Don't open anything that is not from a trusted source and be wary of downloading files from locations that you are not sure is trustworthy.

Windows, Updates and Firewalls
Keep Windows up to date by running updates automatically or at least regularly, and turning on the firewall. If you run a different browser and email client, such as Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird, still keep up to date with patches. There are also many other personal firewall programs available, but Windows XP (with Service Pack 2) has quite a good firewall.

Anti-virus Software
Everyone who owns a computer should be running anti-virus software. Many packages are available in many different forms, most as a renewable subscription, some free and some relatively expensive, or part of a larger suite of applications. The virus definitions, must be updated regularly as new viruses are appearing on a daily basis. We run and recommend NOD32 www.nod32.com.au and find it extremely reliable and effective, without loading up more software than we need and dragging down the system's performance. Not free, but not bloated and heavy-handed. A free 30 day trial can be downloaded here and installed

Most important!
To be effective, any software installed to combat against spyware and viruses must be updated on a regular basis. If you are connected via ADSL (Broadband) have your updates and scans scheduled to run automatically. If you connect via modem, ensure you make a time every week to update your anti-spyware software and run your scans after updating. This may seem time consuming but the consequences of being unprotected can range from being annoying little "quirks" or unexplainable events, to being quite catastrophic as in fraud, loss of data or other major events.
Do you think you have a virus? Go Here

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