Our company, Preactive IT Solutions, is in the business of supporting residential and business computer users. The number one service we are asked to perform more than anything else is virus cleanup. Literally thousands of new computer viruses are released every week. Microsoft recently said that one out of every 14 downloads is a virus or spyware.
As a computer user you are pretty much defenseless right? Not really. Here are four things you can do to help protect your computer and stop the viruses. Some of them you have heard before. Some of these ideas may be new to you.
1. Antivirus - Okay this one is obvious. Run good antivirus software and keep it updated. So what is good antivirus software? Many people like to use free antivirus software. Microsoft Security Essentials is free and it works great. However, it does not scan emails and attachments as they come in and does not filter SPAM. One of the best is Norton Internet Security. It will do everything Security Essentials will plus protect your email and filter the SPAM. We sell Norton internet Security for $69. That's about a buck less than Norton sells it for.
2. Firewall - If your computer is connected to a router you are covered. It is still a good idea to run a software firewall. Windows comes with one. Norton Internet Security comes with its own. The Windows Security Center will nag you if you are not running one.
3. Limited User - In Windows, your user can be an Administrator on the computer or a limited user. This applies to Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 whether the computer is joined to a Microsoft Domain or just a home computer. Limited users cannot install software. While a limited user can still potentially infect the computer, the chances are much less. So create an Administrator user that you only use for installing programs and make all other users on the computer limited.
4. Internet Filter - A good internet filter does many things. Not only can it protect you from visiting many sites that are laden with viruses and spyware, it can also protect you from adult web sites and sites with questionable content. It is certainly a good idea to have an internet filter on any computer that children have access to. I use OpenDNS. It is free for home users and really inexpensive for business users. Read more here: http://preactiveit.com/ComputerCorner/2011/May/Open-DNS-Internet-Filtering
Sticking to these four things will not make your computer absolutely virus proof, but the chances of anything getting through will be slim. These are simple things to adhere to that will likely keep your computer out of our shop. Well... at least until your hard drive crashes. How's your backup?
Do you know someone that needs help with their office network or home computers? Send them to Preactive IT Solutions and we will help them.