What is the best way to protect my computer from viruses, hackers, and malware?

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1969-12-31 19:00

Following the suggestions on this page will help you prevent major issues with your computer.

Use a virus scanner

Viruses are a hot topic in today's world, with many major outbreaks occurring each year. Most of these outbreaks could be prevented if people keep an up-to-date virus scanner running on their computer. Also, it is a policy at Florida Institute of Technology to require that all windows-based computers connecting to the campus network must have up-to-date virus protection.

There are many popular virus scanners available today, including McAfee Antivirus, Norton Antivirus. McAfee and Norton Antivirus can be purchased in most stores that sell computers for a nominal fee. AVG Antivirus is another widely popular Antivirus software that is available for free.

For your personal computer, you can find a link to AVG Free on our software page. Campus computers use an enterprise solution provided by Information Technologies.

Installing an antivirus program is not enough. You need to keep it updated with the newest updates since new viruses come out all the time.Most antivirus programs update automatically after being installed. However, you should check from time to time to ensure that your virus definitions are being updated correctly.

It is a good practice to update your anti-virus software weekly.

Take action to protect yourself from email-based threats

In general, never run a .exe, .bat, vbs, wsh, pif, or .scr file you receive in email. Also, don't open any attachments in emails that look weird.

If an email asks you to forward it to 10 people for good luck, or tells you that you will receive money from someone just for forwarding it, delete it. You may also want to tell the sender of the message to stop sending chain-letters. These are all hoaxes and do nothing except fill up email boxes.

Also, don't believe virus warnings that cannot be verified. If someone tells you that a new virus is out, and that McAfee or Norton don't know about it, do not believe it. This is probably a hoax as well. You can visit McAfee's website: www.nai.com or Norton's website: www.symantec.com to lookup virus information. Always verify virus alerts yourself, before you take the chance of deleting a critical system file.

Reputable companies will never ask you for your username, password, credit card number or social security number via email. They will also never send emails wanting you to confirm a credit card number or password on a remote site. A company might have a problem with your credit card number if you ordered something from them, but in all cases, look at the site that you end up in your web browser. Real website will always include a valid domain name as the first part of the address, and will never contain an @ symbol in the web address. There are many scams going around right now that try to get AOL passwords, bank account information, Paypal account information, and credit card numbers.

For more information on various hoaxes and chain-letters circulating the internet, visit the following site: http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org/

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