If you have been on the internet, or even just watch the news, you have certainly heard about the evils of internet viruses and the destruction that they cause. You may have even experienced this destruction first hand. Computers are literally overwhelmed with the infection of a virus and stop working in the worst case, or work much slower and less dependably. You also probably know that there is an answer to this growing problem and that is antivirus software. What you may not know is specifically what the virus is doing to your computer and how the anti virus tools can fix and/or prevent this destructive work.
First viruses are by definition self replicating computer programs that use a host to spread to other computers. This is done most often by inserting itself in an executable code of certain programs that can then propagate this code to other computers. It is important to note that viruses are only one subset of malicious software or malware and that antivirus software is not necessarily protective from all the different forms. People often get one of these anti virus tools and feel as if they are then immune when in reality they remain very vulnerable to a host of other types of destructive software. Other types include worms and Trojan horses and have other properties that require specific safeguards. Important to know about but not within the scope of this article to cover all of the different forms.
So lets talk about viruses specifically since they are the oldest form of maleware. Viruses are thought to have begun sometime in the early 1980s. At this time the world wide web and other large networks that are so popular today were not the way that viruses spread. In fact early on computer viruses were mainly spread via removable media, mostly floppy disks. There are many reasons for these viruses to be written including mere destructive tendencies, as research, as specific attacks on specific computers, as pirates of information, and even as art forms that computer programmers do in their spare time.
They can do all sorts of kinds of damage the most common of which is self replication to the point of overwhelming the computer’s memory resources causing it to either run haltingly, slowly, or not at all. The can jamb up networks and shut them down much like a power outage. It is important to note however that the damage is limited to the software on a computer and therefore if you have not gotten antivirus software and have become infected you may have lost a hard drive’s worth of valuable information but at least you haven’t lost the whole computer.
Why should we use antivirus software? The answer is really simple. To protect your own computer from damage, and to prevent your computer from being used to pass on infections to other machines without your knowledge.
Every now and then you can read about a new virus and the damage it causes. The millions viruses costs companies each time they strike. It is however not only companies that are suffering from the damages caused by viruses. A virus can be just as damaging if not more for a private Internet user by destroying important documents, family pictures and everything else you keep on your computer. Therefore should no home computer be without a good virus protection software. This way you can protect your computer and yourself from loosing data, corrupted hard drives and a number of other problems. There are several anti virus programs available of which some are free and some are not. You should however always remember that you might get what you paying for, meaning that the service and the updates might be better for the paid alternatives and thereby protect your computer better.
When using a virus program you should try to find one that is fast, reliable and able to discover as many viruses as possible. Whether it is fast or not might seem unimportant if you don’t use your computer that much, but you will find that an anti virus program that scans your computer faster will be used more frequently and thereby giving you a better protection. If an anti virus program should be effective when protecting your computer it needs to be able to recognise all viruses, and since new viruses are constantly created this means that the database for the program has to be constantly updated. You should therefore consider how often the different anti virus programs update their databases when choosing which antivirus program to get. You should always make sure to keep your virus program up-to-date.
PC users are facing new computer viruses every day. Computer viruses not only affect home PCs, they clog up internet traffic and disrupt the business of big corporations, causing billion dollars worth of damage each year. To protect your computer and stop the spread of these malicious programs on the internet, you should renew your antivirus software and update it regularly.
The number of computer viruses is increasing at a shocking rate. In 2003, 7 new viruses were unleashed each day. In 2004, more than 10,000 new viruses and their variants were identified. These new viruses include viruses, worms and Trojan horses and they attack the computer in many different ways. Some cause damage to the boot sector, hardware, software or data files. Some create security leaks in the system. Others may use the computer to spread spam e-mails.
Viruses, worms and Trojan horses also spread by different means. Viruses are usually transferred from one computer to another by sharing infected files or e-mail attachments. Worms replicate and spread by e-mail programs. Trojan horses are often downloaded and run by computer users who do not know the true nature of these programs.
The best antivirus software detect and remove viruses, worms and Trojan horses before they infect your system and use advanced script stopping technology. Although there are many new antivirus programs available these days, consumers should remain vigilant. Beware of all the free scans and free downloads from unknown software publishers. Some claim to be antivirus software but in fact, they add adware to your computer.
If you are looking for an antivirus software, you should only buy from reputable software publishers such as Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro, etc. Remember to renew the license annually and enable the automatic update. This ensures that you are using the most updated detection database.
Many people are reluctant to shell out the cash for decent antivirus software. I’ll agree that at roughly $50 for a decent antivirus program, it isn’t exactly small change. But, let’s look at the costs more closely for a moment:
Computer –> $600-$4,000
Monitor –> $250-$1000
Software –> $500-$5000
Internet Connection –> $25+/month
Personal/Business Data –> Priceless
So, on the low end of the scale we are looking at a computer investment similar in price to an older used car, on the higher end, similar to a newer used car.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m guessing that you wouldn’t buy a used car that had all the locks removed and didn’t need a key to start it, and comes with a free “STEAL ME” sign on it too.
Having a computer that does not have up-to-date antivirus protection is absolutely the same. You are simply asking for trouble.
And trouble WILL find you.
How can I be so sure? Simply because that is what viruses, worms, malware etc. are made to do. Their ONLY job is to find unprotected computers and attack and hijack them without your knowledge. These things are VERY good at what they are built to do, and they NEVER stop. If your computer isn’t protected, and you share disks or go online, it will get infected.
The top antivirus software programs cost as little as 2 months internet connection. They all include constant and unlimited automatic updates that keep your system safe and clean.
If you can afford $1500+ on a computer, $300+/year on internet connections, you can definitely afford another $50 once to make it safe (and prevent it from being used to spread viruses and Trojan horses behind your back).
Anything less would be uncivilized!
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