In an interconnected world with a myriad of threats, having anti-virus software is a necessity. Computers can be infected by any number of malicious programs designed to steal information; hijack your computer or simply to destroy data. This can occur regardless of the operating system you use.
Malicious programs are commonly known as malicious software or malware.
The following are examples of malware:
- Virus: these are spread via executable programs and will often corrupt (i.e. damage) the programs which they infect or cause other harm, such as filling up hard disk space.
- Trojan: based on the concept of the Trojan Horse from Greek Mythology, these are designed to allow someone to gain access to your computer remotely.
- Keylogger: this is designed specifically to record your keystrokes and then send the data to a remote user.
There are a number of anti-virus programs available, either at your local computer retailer or online. Several free programs are also available for download, including Comodo Anti-Virus. Among the Comodo products, you will find versions which support Microsoft Windows; Mac OS and Linux. You can find the product list here.
If you do not make use of an anti-virus program, then it is highly recommended that you install one and, once your have done so, that you run a full system scan to ensure that your computer is clean.
For Microsoft Windows users, there is also the added threat of adware / spyware.
Adware and Spyware often hijack specific programs resulting in one or more of the following:
- New toolbars may be added to your internet browser.
- Your browser home page might be changed and even locked to a website or search engine that you are not familiar with.
- Constant advertisements could be displayed in your browser (often in small pop-up windows)
- You might see warnings that your computer is infected and can only be cleaned if you download a program from a link within the warning.
These infections are different from standard viruses and can often only be removed by certain programs.
||One such program is SUPERAntiSpyware. A free version is available here.|
||Another excellent tool for removing adware and spyware is Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
A free version of this program is available here.
While it is necessary to install and use software to protect your computer, it is also important that you be careful about what you do online. A guide to keeping your computer secure is available here.