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  • COMPUTER VIRUS PROTECTION



    This webpage has been created by KENAX translation agency to rid and protect the computers of its translators against viruses. But why not go a step further and protect your computer and Windows from getting any viruses at all by building a foolproof fortress around it? Or you can refer to our pages on general computer tips to maximize your computer's performance.

    There are apparently many people in the world who have nothing better to do with their lives than cause destruction. Perhaps they think they are harming such massive corporations as Microsoft, out of envy for their wealth. But such massive organisations are much better prepared and have the staff and financial resources to better protect themselves, so it is small people like us who get most hurt by this.

    Most viruses seem to be spread by Outlook. This email program is vulnerable because, just by opening an email (I am not talking about opening or double clicking on an attachment in an email), a series of characters within the email can force it to do certain things, such as send out an email and virus, in your name, to everyone in your address book. Many programs, such as Pegasus) do not allow this, although they may be a little more difficult to set up. You can go to Microsoftís site to learn how to help prevent viruses commanding your Outlook. Otherwise, one trick I heard is to create a person in your address book with the name "0000" (the numbers, so that it is the first person in your address book) with the email address 0000. Apparently, if such a virus tries to send something to all your friends, it will stop short at the first person with the popup window "faulty address, please correct", or something like that, essentially blocking the virus.

    If you use ANY email program, always be careful what attachments you open or double click on. Executable programs (such as the command to erase everything on your computer) have such endings as .exe, .bat, and .com. Other files you should be careful about have such endings as .pif and .scr (a screen saver). Files like Word or Excel documents can have macros within them, which may function like a virus. Against this possibility, you can look into your Word or Excel settings to NOT automatically run macros when you open a file.

    It is extremely easy to send out an email so that it looks like it comes from someone else. Therefore, do not assume that, just because you received an attachment from a friend, you can go ahead and open it. If you are not sure, write to them and ask for their confirmation.

    You can also get viruses just from surfing the internet. Be careful of whatever you download and install. If you click on a pretty picture, it could be attached to a command to download something to your computer, in which case a window will usually pop up asking you if you want to open the file/program or download it to your computer. Make sure it is from a trustworthy source before you say yes to either of these.

    Another way is through cookies, which are little files a website stores on your computer and which may do such things as keep track of your information and send it to a particular corporation, and other nasty things like that. A good way how to prevent against this is (in MS Internet Explorer, but should be similar in any browser) to go to Tools, Internet Options, Privacy, and set your settings to High. If some sites you usually use do not work anymore, copy the domain (ie- cnn.com), press Edit in this same window, add it to the "Address of website" field and press Allow. You are, in effect, allowing anything within this site to store cookies on your computer, which is sometimes necessary when logging into a website and other things.

    Under Tools, Internet Options, you may also try going to the General tab and pressing Delete Cookies and Delete Files (Temporary Internet Files) to get rid of any nasty cookies you may have downloaded in the past.

    Now you know how to help not get a virus in the future.

    Now letís clean up any nasty things already running on your computer.

    Virus Scanner

    If you have a good virus protection program on your computer, update it (the important point about a virus protection program is that it is up to date, meaning that there is a team of people working every day looking for viruses on the internet and thinking up a solution against it. If you do not download their solution, you will not be able to get rid of the latest viruses), and run a complete scan of your entire computer. You can set most virus programs to automatically scan your system at a certain hour of the day (when you are not there or sleeping, for example), if you have it running all the time.

    If you do not have a virus program, you can download NOD32, Norton or AVG antivirus (both have a trial free period - enough to rid your computer of viruses the first time you get them - Avira, Avast and AVG all free..), install the program, update it, and run a scan of your computer. The last I checked, the free version is only good for 15 days, but all you need is a few hours to remove the viruses Ė then you need to make sure you do not download any more.

    SpyBot

    Another form of virus is popup menus and other spyware which keep track of what you do and send information to certain corporations, among other things. A good way to get rid of this is to download an anti spyware program, such as Spybot or Spysweeper (Spysweeper seems more powerful, but then updates are not free after about 30 days) update that, and run that on your computer. Then you can immunise your computer (the program is free and easy to understand) to protect yourself in the future.

    An additional way you can prevent popups is to download a program to block this. The one I like to use is Googles popup blocker. Just go to Google.com and download their program. It also puts a toolbar in your browser to help you when searching, and has a function which fills in fields (your name, address, telephone number etc. Ė whatever information you want to be filled in automatically, or filled in every time upon pressing one button in the toolbar) in any website so that you do not have to do so all the time.

    Problems

    Of course, the people who design these viruses do not want you to remove them, and you cannot delete a file which is being used. So the above programs might not be able to delete certain viruses if they are currently running. Either you can run the above programs and see how far they get, then do the procedures below if there are problems and try it again, or do the procedures below as a precaution and then run the above programs. One way to get around this is to turn off the programs which use or run the viruses. In Windows, you can press CTRL ALT DELETE (once!) at the same time and it will show you all the programs that are currently running on your computer. Using this window, you can turn off any suspicious running programs. In this window in Windows XP, you can also press the Processes tab and see other programs that are running. I just turn off anything I donít know or which looks suspicious, excepting the system files. Worst case your Windows will crash (everything should run as usual though the next time you turn on your computer).

    You can also go to the Start menu, and check your Startup menu. In here are all the programs which automatically turn on when you turn on your computer. Many programs put themselves in here when you install them. Do you really need these programs running automatically every time you turn on your computer? Just right click on them in the Startup menu and choose Delete.

    You can also check your System Tray (the right side of the bottom strip in Windows). These also show various programs that are running on your computer. Hold the mouse still above them and see what explanation pops up. It could be programs for your mouse, or your graphics card. A lot of times these are not necessary. Other times it could be three icons for Aol.com alone. You really do not need all this, and these running programs only slow your computer down (although think twice if associated with your hardware, such as your mouse or your graphics card). If you need any of these, you can always find them somewhere in your Start menu. So, if you do not want any of these, usually either double click on them, or right click on them and choose from the appropriate settings. You want to get into the programís Settings, Options or Preferences menu and find that little bitty check box which says that you want the program to be running in your System Tray. Unfortunately, this takes some detective work.

    So, sure, all this will take several hours for you to do, but think of how many hours you will spend in the future closing annoying popup windows, dealing with viruses, or maybe re-installing your entire system, once it gets out of control.

    Practice safe computer sąx. Donít let yourself get enticed. Be very careful whatever you install on your computer. Verify the trustworthiness of any source. If you are not sure, you can usually search for this information on the net.



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