Dealing with Malware and Viruses
Malware and viruses can happen at any time, and a user can become infected simply by visiting a malware-infected website, downloading an infected file or by using an infected data storage device.
Malware and viruses can be targeted to do many things, including stealing personal data, corrupting data, taking control of a user’s PC for the purpose of sending out spam or forming part of a botnet.
The most common sense approach any PC user should take is to install a reputable anti-virus solution. There are both free solutions (eg: Avast!, AVG, Avira) and paid solutions (eg: BitDefender, Kaspersky, Norton, Nod32 among others), and whichever one is chosen the user should take steps to ensure it updates regularly and that regular scans are run.
In addition to anti-virus and Internet security suites, using stand-alone anti-malware products can help safeguard against malware and viruses. Like anti-virus, there are both free and paid-for solutions, such as Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware, Malwarebytes, Emsisoft’s A-Squared and Webroot’s SpySweeper. Again, these should be kept regularly updated, with regular scheduled scans.
Consider using a software firewall to limit which software programs have access to the Internet. Like anti-virus and anti-malware solutions, there are free and paid services available. If you choose to use an Internet security suite, it will probably come with a firewall program. Some free firewalls options are Comodo Personal Firewall, PC Tools Firewall, ZoneAlarm and Agnitum.
Users should also ensure their operating system is fully patched with the latest security updates, in order to close points of exploit for potential hackers.
For operating systems where user policies can be defined, users should make a separate account on their PC for everyday use. This will limit the effectiveness of any malicious program that does make it through onto a user’s PC by denying it access to valuable system data and resources. Only use the administrator account when installing software
Make regular backups of system data to a CD, DVD or external hard-drive or pen-drive. That way, if a user does become infected, you'll have clean copies in safe storage.
And, as with spam emails, avoid opening attachments in emails or clicking on suspicious links.