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Virus Protection & Spyware Removal
8/26/2004 (Source: EFX internet)


Are you vulnerable to the next wave of virii?  Learn how to insure your computer is virus and spyware free and where to check your PC for free online.

Welcome to EFX internet's guide to keeping your PC virus free.  The first thing you'll want to do is scan your computer for viruses to make sure you're starting with a clean system.  Fortunately there are some free utilities online which allow you to do just that.

CHECKING IF YOU'RE VIRUS-FREE

What's a virus?

Viruses are destructive or deceptive programs that spread from computer to computer over the Internet or a network. Viruses can be attached to other files or disguised as files that look ordinary. You can help protect your computer from viruses and other security threats by:

  • Installing and using up-to-date antivirus software.
  • Setting up your e-mail and Internet software so that it is more difficult for files containing viruses to make their way onto your computer at all.
  • In addition to using up-to-date antivirus software, you should also make sure that it has a "real-time scanning" feature (depending on the brand of software, this feature might have another name). Real-time scanning checks files before they are opened or used.
First, and highly recommended, is Trend Micro's HouseCall available at:

housecall.trendmicro.com - Trend Micro HouseCall

Select "Scan Now. It's Free!" then choose your country and click Go.  A few items will ask if they're ok to install - choose Yes.  Select your C: drive and scan away.  Trend's free scanner is also capable of cleaning some infected files.

Another option is Symantec's Online Virus Scan available at:

security.symantec.com - Symantec Security Check

Symantec's scanner is a good way to check your system for infection but it does not have any way of repairing or cleaning your files.

FIREWALL PROTECTION

What's a firewall?

A firewall helps protect your computer by preventing unauthorized users from gaining access to it through a network or the Internet. Windows Firewall is built into Windows XP SP2 and is turned on automatically, which helps protect your computer against viruses and other security threats.

A firewall is different from antivirus software, but the two of them work together to help protect your computer. You might say that a firewall guards the windows and doors against strangers or unwanted programs trying to get in, while an antivirus program protects against viruses or other security threats that can try to sneak in through the front door.
A good firewall system is key to blocking spyware, malicious hackers, and some types of annoying popup messages.  Symantec offers a Security Scan (at the security.symantec.com link above) to check if your computer is protected from other online threats that can be blocked by an internet firewall.  Firewalls can be either software (included in Windows XP SP2 for free) or hardware (a Linksys router).  A hardware solution is probably your best bet even if you are not sharing your internet connection with multiple computers.  A wired Linksys router can be used between your cable modem connection and your PC to shield your system from many internet-born security threats.

REAL-TIME ANTIVIRUS

EFX internet recommends Norton AntiVirus 2003 or 2004 to keep your system and email inbox safe from viruses 24/7/365.  $40-$50 is a small investment to keep your data safe and your system working properly.

SPYWARE, ADWARE, AND MALWARE

Spyware and it's cousins are a relatively new kind of threat that common anti-virus applications do not yet cover. If you see new toolbars in your Internet Explorer that you didn't intentionally install, if your browser crashes, or if you browser start page has changed without your knowing, you most probably have spyware.

Here are two free programs that are helpful in ridding your system of spyware:

http://www.download.com/Spybot-Search-Destroy/3000-8022_4-10289035.html - Spybot - Search & Destroy

www.lavasoft.de - Ad-Aware Personal Edition

For further assistance or desktop security consulting contact EFXi.


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