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viruses are deadly. They often spread without any apparent contact and can be a
nuisance, or even worse, fatal to your computer. A virus is a small computer
program that can copy and spread itself from one computer to another, with or
without the help of the user. However, viruses typically do more than just be
fruitful and multiply, which is bad enough in itself because it hogs system
resources. Most viruses are spread through e-mail attachments because it's the
easiest way to do it. Although Macintosh, Unix, and Linux systems can catch
viruses, hackers are particularly keen on exploiting the security weaknesses in
anything Microsoft, particularly Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express.
there are many
things you can do to keep your computer from catching viruses in the first
Your first line
of defense is to install anti-virus software.
Solution 2: The
If you receive
a particularly juicy attachment that you're dying to open, save it on your
Windows desktop and run your anti-virus software on it first. If it's infected,
your anti-virus software may neutralize it, or at least tell you the attachment
is too dangerous to open.
Delete first, ask questions later.
When in doubt
about the origin of an e-mail, the best thing to do is delete it without
previewing or opening it. Because of the proliferation of porn on the internet,
e-mail viruses often tempt victims by using sexual filenames, such as
nudes.exe. Don't fall for it.
Beware of virus hoaxes
proliferation of e-mails about virus hoaxes can become nearly as bad as a real
virus. If you ever want to verify a virus warning, your anti-virus vendor may
have a list of hoaxes on it website.
Beware of filename extensions
defaults to hiding filename extensions, but it isn't a good idea. Just being
able to see a suspicious extension and deleting the file before opening it can
save you from a virus infection. System files will still be hidden, but you'll
be able to see extensions for all the files you need to be concerned with.
Viruses often live on files with these extensions - .vbs, .shs, .pif, .Ink.
Disable the .shs extension
One dangerous extension you can easily disable is .shs. Windows won't recognize
it and will alert you before attempting to open an .shs file.
Solution 7: Dealing with double extensions
When you turn
on your extensions in Windows, you'll be able to detect viruses that piggy-back
themselves onto innocent looking files with a double extension, such as
Beware of unknown .exe files
A virus is a
program that must be executed to do its dirty work, so it may have an .exe
extension. Just don't EVER open any file with an .exe extension if you don't know
what the file's purpose is.
Watch out for icons
If you recieve
an unexpected attachment, don't open it without first running it through your
Solution 10: Don't download from public newgroups
files and programs from newsgroups or bulletin boards, or open attachments sent
from strangers in chatrooms ("Let's exchange pictures!") without
first scanning with your anti-virus software.
Avoid bootleg software
Solution 12: Protect macros in MS Word, Excel, and Powerpoint
A macro virus may perform such mischief as changing file types from text files
or spreadsheets into templates, locking up keyboards, and deleting files. Word,
Excel, and PowerPoint come with macro virus protection.
Solution 13: Use
If you share
your computer, it's a good idea to assign everyone a password.
Update application software
Microsoft constantly issues patches for the security holes in its operating
system and applications software. To get the latest security hotfixes (as
Microsoft calls them), visit www.microsoft.com and look for hotfixes for all
your Microsoft software, particularly Outlook and Outlook Express.