A computer virus is a small software program that spreads from one computer to another and interferes with computer operation. A computer virus might corrupt or delete data on a computer, use an email program to spread the virus to other computers, or even delete everything on the hard disk.

But getting your computer infected is preventable. Here are some ways to do it:

Don’t open suspicious emails, links or attachments

Computer viruses are frequently spread by attachments in email messages or by instant messaging messages. Therefore, you must never open an email attachment unless you know who sent the message or you are expecting the email attachment. Viruses can be disguised as attachments of funny images, greeting cards, or audio and video files. Computer viruses also spread through downloads on the Internet. They can be hidden in pirated software or in other files or programs that you might download.

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Anti-virus software is crucial to preventing virus attacks, but this strategy only works if users update their software.Unfortunately, ‘keeping it current’ means updating it weekly – which isn’t really bad considering the inconvenience of going through a virus and malware problem.

Cybercriminals are endlessly inventive in their efforts to exploit vulnerabilities in software, and many software companies work tirelessly to combat these threats. That is why you should:

  • Regularly install updates for all your software—antivirus and antispyware programs, browsers, operating systems, and word processing and other programs.
  • Subscribe to automatic software updates whenever they are offered—for example, you can automatically update all Microsoft software. Windows 8 and Windows 7 turn on automatic updating during installation.
  • Uninstall software that you don’t use. You can remove it using Windows Control Panel.

Be Selective when Downloading

These days, practically everyone’s online, downloading and exchanging files. If you’re not careful, your computer can end up with a nasty virus that makes your files act oddly, crashes your computer, pops up bizarre messages, or worst of all, destroys your operating system.

Only download software from websites you trust. Be cautious of “free” offers of music, games, videos, and the like. They are notorious for including malware in the download.

Install an Anti-virus Program

The anti-virus offered by internet service providers will not be enough to protect the entire computer system from virus or spyware infection. For this reason it would be better to install additional free anti-malware programs for adequate protection. A business grade anti-virus software needs to be installed to protect the PC all throughout the day.

Always use an anti-virus software program, one with both an on-demand and an on-access scanner. You’ll want to look for one that has a fairly complete database of viruses and that is updateable. New viruses are produced daily, so it’s important to have software that can detect the latest threat.

Be sure to read the manual and follow the directions of the software program to ensure it is protecting you properly. Also, consider buying and using two different brands to be doubly protected.

Use a Firewall

This is a basic rule that all computer users need to understand. Although the use of a firewall is not that effective for internet worms, it is still vital when fighting infection from the user’s own network. It will provide better control over the moves of the computer both in and out.

Amid all these ways of preventing, never forget to back up your files regularly and store the backups somewhere aside from your PC. If you fall victim to a virus attack, you can recover photos, music, movies, and personal information like tax returns and bank statements.

Removing a computer virus or spyware can be difficult without the help of malicious software removal tools. Some computer viruses and other unwanted software reinstall themselves after the viruses and spyware are detected and removed. Fortunately, by updating the computer and by using malicious software removal tools, you can help permanently remove unwanted software.