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How to Avoid Infecting Your Computer with a Virus

The craftiest and most dangerous viruses spread on their own. However, most computers become infected because of careless and unsafe computing practices. Learn what you can do to avoid infecting your own computer with a computer virus.

Install Your Own Anti-Virus Software

Though your Hubris Communications email account is protected by our behind-the-scenes virus filter, your computer can still become infected by computer viruses. For maximum protection, you must install a virus scanning program on your own computer.

Tips for Avoiding Computer Viruses

You can significantly reduce the risk of infecting your computer by following a few precautions and by giving your computer the proper maintenance.

Keep your virus scanning software up to date!
The biggest mistake you can make in your defense against computer viruses is to neglect your virus scanning software. New virus threats emerge on a nearly daily basis. Virus scanning programs must be kept up-to-date with the latest virus “definitions” in order to be able to provide maximum protection against old and new virus threats.
Keep your operating system up-to-date with the latest security patches.
Whether you use Windows or Mac OS X, regular security updates can be downloaded and installed automatically. Make sure your settings are adjusted to permit such updates so that your computer is as secure as possible when new virus threats emerge.
Use firewall software to “lock-down” your computer.
A firewall is a system-level software component which prevents unauthorized access to your computer by others through a network or Internet connection. Windows XP (with Service Pack 2) and Mac OS X have built-in firewalls which work well. Older operating systems can be protected by purchasing firewall software.
Learn more about firewalls in our Security Center.
Only open attachments which are 100% trustworthy.
When email messages contain viruses, they are usually in the form of email attachments. Computers become infected when people open these attachments. You can protect yourself by ignoring any attached files which you cannot trust with absolute certainty. Here are some general guidelines that can help you determine an attachment’s trustworthiness.
Examples of Trustworth and Untrustworthy Email Attachements
Generally Trustworthy
  • Attachments which you were expecting.
  • Documents (PDF documents, for example) from banks and other institutions which routinely communicate with you personally via email.
  • Photos sent directly to you by friends and family members.
Usually Untrustworthy
  • Attachments from people you do not know.
  • “Jokes” and other so-called entertaining attachments, even if they are from people you know. These sorts of files are often used to spread viruses.
  • Attachments ending in any of the following extensions:
    • .dat
    • .exe
    • .js
    • .scr
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