Viruses are the malicious software or malwares which are spread through infected files. But unlike worms, a computer is attacked only if the virus affected file is opened on your computer for the virus to intrude in your system.
After opening of such an infected program, it loads itself into the computer and start reproducing itself like a real biological virus.
The reproduced copies of such virus then attach to other files in the system and start affecting them. They can affect your computer in varied ways and the attack can vary from being pesky to dangerous including invasion of your personal data and parasitic use of your PC for illegal stuff.
Protection and prevention of your PC from viruses is totally dependent on your way of usage and cautious behavior while using the internet.
Basic Steps to Avoid Intrusion of Virus into Your Computer
- Install an updated version of an anti-virus, with huge virus database, on your system which has both on-access and on-demand scanner.
- Keep updating the virus database of your anti-virus regularly.
- Do not open any kind of emails from unknown senders before letting your anti-virus scan it properly and completely.
- If an unknown email has some attachments with it, do not download it however interesting it might appear.
- Any attachment with email from your known contacts should also be scanned using the anti-virus before downloading it. Also any kind of forwards from your friends should be avoided and scanned before opening it.
- Advertisement pop-ups must be avoided and blocked using the dedicated feature in your browser.
- Accidental clicking on any unrelated flash items on various websites also must be avoided. For the purpose of safety, when not needed, the plug-ins like ActiveX control, JAVA content, flash player etc. should be turned off.
- Download of any content from untrustworthy websites must be avoided. Even the files downloaded from trusted websites must be scanned before opening.
- Files transferred via flash storage devices and also via LAN connections must be scanned before opening.
- File download using torrent should be avoided at once since the files downloaded are not only from unreliable sources, but also the torrent clients create an exception in the firewall for these files to make their access to the system files extremely easy.
- Back up your files in regular intervals, so that you would not lose any important documents if a virus infection do occur on your PC.
A new trend of viruses known as macro-viruses has arrived nowadays. With the development of online spreadsheets, these viruses do not wait for the file to be downloaded on your PC. Just the viewing of these sheets using the online viewing services introduces the virus to your PC.
To avoid this risk of macro-viruses, do not allow the browser to open the .doc, .xls or .pdf files using untrustworthy online service and request the browser to download these files on the PC and run using the default applications.
A virus can attack your PC even if you boot from an infected disk. To avoid this, from your CMOS settings, change the boot device preference from disk drive to C drive i.e. the local drive with the operating system installed. This eliminates the risk of getting infected. These settings can be reverted when required to do so.
Even though the anti viruses and firewalls are meant to protect your PC from virus attacks, they are not completely efficient with their tasks. An anti-virus updates its database at a regular interval of 1 week minimum.
But with the vivid development of viruses all over, a new virus is being released in the world every next minute. Thus, your PC even with the most efficient anti-virus installed, is not completely safe from viruses.
Keep yourself updated with the latest information regarding the development of new viruses and their spreading medium for staying more cautious during your use of internet or getting files through various transfer mediums.