With an estimated 40,000 viruses already identified and some 300 new viruses created each month, keeping a computer free of viruses is a daunting but not impossible task. The following are steps every computer user should follow to protect his or her computer from viruses.
- Install an anti-virus software program to identify and remove viruses before they can cause any damage. These programs scan, or review, files that may come from floppy diskettes, the Internet, email attachments, or networks, looking for patterns of code that match patterns in the anti-virus software vendor’s database of known viruses. Once detected, the software isolates and removes the virus before it can be activated.
- Because the number of viruses is increasing all the time, it is important to keep anti-virus software up to date with information on newly identified viruses. Anti-virus software vendors are constantly updating their databases of information on viruses and making this information available to their customers via their web sites or email.
- Do not open email from unknown senders or messages that contain unexpected attachments. A user should delete these types of messages. As a general rule, a user should scan every email attachment for viruses before opening it, even an expected attachment as the sender may have unknowingly sent an infected file.