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Protection Against Viruses and Worms

According to security experts and technicians, computer worms and viruses are here to stay. Evidence is displayed in the many predictions and preempting attacks the industry has forecasted. For instance, McAfee, a leading name in anti-virus software solutions, publishes a virus information calender in which users can track anticipated attacks by day or view the history on virus and worm infections. While some may view this as a sign of defeat, it is rather apparent that companies like McAfee and others are dedicated to keeping their users educated on these common threats.

The Impact of Viruses and Worms

No one is safe these days. Whether you're a casual user or the system administrator of a large corporation, one or both of these malicious programs can easily slither its way into your computer.

Viruses and worms can impact you in number of ways, with consequences ranging from subtle to severe. Here a few of the most common ailments:

Performance issues - It is quite possible to be infected and suffer no physical damage to your computer. In this case, the most severe result is typically slower system performance, which can end up being a major distraction.

Email spoofing - Viruses and worms are often distributed via email. Once you have been infected, many of them will send virus-infected emails to the contacts in your email address book, making it appear as if you purposely sent it, even though your computer is essentially the source of infection.

Total destruction - More complex programs, often referred to as overwriting viruses, have the ability to completely erase your hard disk and disable critical system configurations . This is often done to lower security defenses, which may enable hacking exploits.

How Viruses and Worms are Contracted

Viruses and worms have kept pace with technology in the way of evolution. In the beginning, most of them were distributed via email, meaning that the chances of infection weren't as great. This has changed tremendously with introduction of broadband network connections, freeware and shareware downloads, peer-to-peer networks, instant messaging and other internet perks. Despite their popularity, these activities are the most common ways in which viruses and worms are contracted.

Prevention of Viruses and Worms

Since abandoning your emails and completely giving up the internet is highly unlikely, you need to take other steps to avoid infection. You can actually begin with the messages in your inbox. Because of the current prevalence of malware, you should never open the attachment found in an unsolicited email. What appears to be a legitimate file just may be a virus or worm in disguise. Furthermore, you should remain cautious when roaming the web. There are many sites plagued with malware that will secretly infected your computer without your knowledge.

The best way to protect yourself against viruses and worms is to install an anti-virus program. This software will thoroughly comb your system in search of malicious content. If harmful items are found, the program will notify you in which they may be contained, disinfected or completely removed. These small steps can be some of the biggest moves you'll ever make towards safe computing.

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You can protect your computer from viruses without expensive software. Instead, follow these simple tips:

Stay up-to-date on all system updates.

Don't download any email attachments you weren't expecting.

Avoid freeware and peer-to-peer sharing sites.

Use alternative web browsers and email software.