The 9 Most Important Rules for Anti-virus Software

Using multiple layers of security is the best way to protect your computer and information while online. In previous articles we discussed passwords, Internet routers and firewalls as layers of protection. In this article I would like to  talk about another layer that is a critical part of the layered approach to computer security, anti-virus software.

"Antivirus or anti-virus software is software used to prevent, detect and remove malware, such as: computer viruses, adware, backdoors, malicious BHOs, dialers, fraudtools, hijackers, keyloggers, malicious LSPs, rootkits, spyware, trojan horses and worms." - Wikipedia

Are you scared yet? You do want to prevent all this, right? Credit card numbers, bank account numbers,  passwords, and social security numbers are things that everyone should guard carefully for obvious reasons. But, even as they take reasonable precautions to keep their personal information and valuables protected in many ways, some will let their guard down where they are most vulnerable - online.

The 9 most important rules for using anti-virus software
  1. Update your computer software often, including Windows updates, Adobe, Java, and other software that provides security patches and updates.
  2. Use reputable antivirus software that also protects you from spyware.
  3. Update your antivirus software automatically and daily.
  4. Configure your antivirus software for real time protection and scheduled file scanning.
  5. Don’t open attachments in email unless you know that they are from a trusted source.
  6. Don’t download files from the Internet unless you know that they are from a trusted source.
  7. Use your antivirus software to scan email attachments and files downloaded from the Internet before you open them, regardless of the source.
  8. Do not use peer to peer file sharing programs. These include programs such as Limewire, Bearshare, Gnutella, Morpheus, Torrents, etc.
  9. Don’t download software from warez, pirate or cracked software websites.
One of the more insidious effects of a virus infection is the fear that you didn't remove all of them, or worse; you removed them too late and someone already has your info.
I have cleaned my own infected computers. Even though, as a professional, I am methodical and thorough when cleaning an infected system, I know this fear!

Even the least damaging virus infections are costly. You may lose the use of your computer, your documents, pictures, music or other media and software you have purchased. Time without your computer and time to recreate or restore documents have real costs. Of course the worst damage is having your identity stolen!