Anti-virus and Spyware Help
If you own a computer and you are connected to the Internet you MUST have antivirus software, even if you ONLY send an occasional email. We are reminding you of this not just for your own protection, but to protect others that you have listed in various places on your computer, like your address book. Many of the current crop of viruses have become very sophisticated. If your computer becomes infected (and you will not know if you do not have antivirus software on your computer) they have the ability to place “backdoors” and “keyloggers”, that collect private information. Your computer can also be used as a “drone” for spammers to send spam of all sorts, including pornography. Spam has become a huge problem, not only from an annoyance factor, but it costs money for Internet services to upgrade their servers to keep up with the volume of mail. If you have an “always on”, high speed Internet connection, such as NFN DSL , then you should also run a software firewall to protect your computer contents.
Install and maintain 3 distinct pieces of software on your computer. The following are free and work as well, if not better, than many of the high-priced packages being sold:
1. Anti-Virus Software
http://free.avg.com/223204 AVG Note: there are two download versions on this page. If you are downloading to a CD or a memory stick you need to download the full version which is over 140 mb of data. The smaller file around 4 mb is for online users and online installation.
Avira is another anti-virus program, only around 30mb of size that some people prefer because of its smaller download size.
http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/resources.aspx?mkt=en-us&s=1#mainNav Microsoft Security Essentials – a free download
2. Anti-Spy (Spyware) Software
3. Firewall Software (alternative to Windows Firewall)
One of the most successful and least expensive ways of accomplishing the above 3 items, is to download the free versions from the Internet. If you take the time to learn how to use them, including keeping the appropriate updates, your computer will be well protected.
It is important that, in addition to having the actual software installed on your computer, you keep the virus and spyware definitions up to date…whether you are using a paid version of the programs or a free version. If you don’t keep definitions up to date, the software protection is useless.
Click on this link to Microsoft’s help page on steps to take for keeping a healthy computer:
There are several ways to get software.
1. Retail store such as Best Buy, Circuit City, Office Depot, Office Max. This may be a good option since you will get a CD that you can use to reinstall in the event you have a problem with your computer.
2. Download off the Internet. What are some sites where Anti-Virus software can be downloaded? Some of these offer trial versions so that you can try it before you buy it and some offer competely free versions that are very adequate. Some of the bigger programs, such as Norton and Mcafee make many changes to your computer when installed and may cause computer operation problems if not correctly installed, configured and maintained. Old or unmaintained copies are worthless for giving any protection. If you are not going to subscribe (pay) annual fees for these programs, you are better off not even having them installed on your computer.
The following site has a summary of what is available to fight both virus and spyware infections:
If you have never downloaded software before, a visit to this site might be helpful:
Microsoft is also offering in conjunction with Computer Associates a one year free subscription to CA’s antivirus software. It comes bundled with Microsoft Windows updates,(patches) which your computer should also have as an additional protection against “exploits”(flaws in Windows software) that the viruses may use. You can order a free CD with Windows updates and FREE antivirus software here:
Free online scan programs:
These sites offer free online detection and removal of viruses. They are not meant as replacement for the antivirus software you subscribe to, but rather a backup or a “second opinion”, if you think a virus has slipped by your software (which can happen on occasion). Be careful of ads for free scans, because some could be masquerading as a virus or spyware program.
Spyware is becoming more and more of a problem for computer users. Spyware and adware may not be as destructive as virus infection but it can be very intrusive, annoying and cause your computer to act strangely. Don’t know what Spyware is? Check out the following Microsoft educational link. It describes the problem, suggests how to prevent Spyware and adware infection as well as methods used to clean infected machines.
*Please note that all the above information is provided as a public service. The Naples Free-Net does not endorse any one particular product nor do we provide software or hardware support for the above products.