If you’re making a list of New Years resolutions, put this at the top — keep your computer well protected with anti-virus software. Computer-science instructor Jeff Gullion says now more than ever a computer that’s connected to the Internet will be a target within minutes for hackers, viruses, worms, “bots,” and other infections created by malicious programmers.
Anybody with a link to the ‘net should have brand-name virus protection, he says.
The two most-common commercial packages are McAfee and Norton, both respected brands in the industry he says are more than adequate — though he advises you keep them current and updated. He says you might also want to add programs that detect and remove “spyware,” a kind of infection you can pick up surfing the net that’s not actively malicious but can he a headache.
He explains spyware is software that tracks how you use your computer, and in time it’ll “clutter” your machine with small programs that are running behind the scenes, slowing it down even though you don’t even know they’re there.
Two packages he talks about in his classes are “Ad-Aware” and another called “Spybot Search and Destroy,” free programs that’ll help you find spyware and spamware on the computer and help you remove them.
He recommends you download both these and run them, and explains they’re free…if you want them to be. Both are “freeware” programs, offered via the internet for free by software creators who ask you to pay them a suggested fee if you use the program and find it satisfactory. He says both have been around a long time, as far as computers go, and are highly respected in the industry and by most users.
Gullion says if you’re getting a new computer or gave one for Christmas, it should have good virus protection as soon as it’s set up, and before you venture out onto the Internet.