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Tips - Protecting your Computer
computer protection tips Baja California


Here are some basic tips on how to protect your computer against a virus. These are only a few tips but necessary to help you fight the ongoing attacks against your Computer.

What is a virus?
A computer virus is a program that spreads by first infecting files or the system areas of a computer‘s hard drive and then making copies of itself. Some viruses are harmless, others may damage data files, and some may destroy files. Viruses are primarily spread through e-mail messages.

Viruses often require some sort of user action (e.g., opening an e-mail attachment or visiting a malicious web page) to spread.


What do viruses do?
Some viruses are designed to deliberately damage files, interfere with other programs, deliver annoying popup messages, and others may cause your computer to crash..

What does anti-virus software do?
Although details may vary between packages, anti-virus software scans files or your computer's memory for certain patterns that may indicate an infection. The patterns it looks for are based on the signatures, or definitions, of known viruses. When a new virus is introduced your anti-virus program identifies it and then must update your installed anti-virus program so it can recognize the new virus.

This is why it is important to update your anti-virus program daily.

Once you have installed an anti-virus package, you should scan your entire computer periodically. I recommend doing a complete computer scan every two weeks.

  • Automatic scans - Depending what anti-virus software you have, it should be set to automatically scan for viruses. A good anti-virus program will scan all incoming emails before you can open them.
  • Manual scans - It is also a good idea to manually scan files you receive from an outside source before opening them. This includes:
    • Saving and scanning e-mail attachments or web downloads rather than selecting the option to open them directly from the source. If you are downloading a program from the internet always select save to disk instead of run. Then you can allow your anti-virus to scan the program before you click to install.
    • Scanning media, including CDs and DVDs, and memory sticks,for viruses before opening any of the files.

What happens if the software finds a virus?
Each anti-virus package has its own method of response when it locates a virus, and the response may differ according to whether the software locates the virus during an automatic or a manual scan. Sometimes the software will produce a dialog box alerting you that it has found a virus and asking whether you want it to "clean" the file (to remove the virus). In other cases, the software may attempt to remove the virus without asking you first. When you select an anti-virus package, familiarize yourself with its features so you know what to expect.

Which anti-virus software should you use?
There are many vendors who produce anti-virus software, and deciding which one to choose can be confusing. All anti-virus software performs the same function, so your decision may be driven by recommendations, particular features, availability, or price.

As a software developer, I have tested many of the popular anti-virus packages on the market. Some are better than others, but in my opinion none of the Free anti-virus packages are good enough to help protect your computer.

Installing any anti-virus software, regardless of which package you choose, increases your level of protection. Be careful of e-mail messages claiming to include anti-virus software. These messages often contain an attachment that claims to be anti-virus software. However, the attachment itself is in fact a virus, so you could become infected by opening it.

Why can e-mail attachments be dangerous?
Some of the characteristics that make e-mail attachments convenient and popular are also the ones that make them a common tool for attackers:

  • E-mail is easily circulated - Forwarding emails can quickly infect many machines at once. Most viruses don't even require users to forward the e-mail because they scan a users' computer for e-mail addresses and automatically send the infected message to all of the addresses they find. Attackers take advantage of the reality that most users will automatically trust and open any message that comes from someone they know.
  • E-mail programs try to address all users' needs allowing almost any type of filet o be attached to an e-mail message, so attackers have more freedom with the types of viruses they can send.
  • E-mail programs offer many "user-friendly" features. Some e-mail programs have the option to automatically download e-mail attachments, which immediately exposes your computer to any viruses within the attachments.

Email Scams & Credit Card Theft.

How many of you had to cancel a credit card because someone was charging illegal transactions to your account?


Did you know that a good technical webmaster can clone a website page making it look like the real thing? I have designed a simple example of a Scam Website that hopes to steal your PayPal login information that can allow the bad guy to make illegal charges to your credit card or PayPal account. Let us imagine that you received an email advising you that your PayPal account must be updated with a link for you to follow. You open the link and log in like normal. This Scam website now has your personal PayPal login information and then starts charging to your account. Click here to see an example. Looks real doesn't it? So you have given away information that gets you ripped off.


This is only an example but if I wanted the example would be completely interactive just like the PayPal login page.


This can apply to your online bank account or any other financial institution asking for credit card information or login.


Things to be aware of:

  • No financial institution will ask you to give your credit card information unless you are logged into your account.
  • If you are contacted via email indicating a problem with your online account always calls them first to verify that it is a valid email notice.
  • Never use an internet cafe to do online payments. They have installed Spy Ware to see every transaction you do including any login information for email accounts or credit card details.
  • Always use your normal mode of logging into your online banking and never just follow a link in an email.
  • Look at the URL at the top of your browser. It will show in this example: https://www.paypal.com/ if you have logged into the real website.
  • SSL approved website. All legal websites that ask for payments online will have a registered SSL account that shows they are real and legal. First line of defence when you purchase online is to look for the SSL lock at the top of the page. An example: If you log into the real paypal website you will see a little lock at the top. www.paypal.com this helps assure you that they have a legal SSL security account. If you do not see this never give credit card information to purchase. See the little Lock in the graphic below, also notice the https:// this means secure. Not http:// that is not secure.


What steps can you take to protect yourself and others in your address book?

  • Be wary of unsolicited attachments, even from people you know - Just because an e-mail message looks like it came from your mom, grandma, or boss doesn't mean that it did. Many viruses can "spoof" the return address, making it look like the message came from someone else. If you can, check with the person who supposedly sent the message to make sure it's legitimate before opening any attachments.
  • Keep your computer software up to date –Many operating systems like windows offer automatic updates. If this option is available, you should enable it.
  • Make sure your anti-virus protection is updated daily.
  • Trust your instincts - If an e-mail or e-mail attachment seems suspicious, don't open it, even if your anti-virus software indicates that the message is clean. At the very least, contact the person who supposedly sent the message to make sure it's legitimate before you open the attachment. Be very suspicious of forwarded emails.
  • Do a weekly – Complete computer scan. I know this takes time so schedule it to run while you are out.
  • Be sure you have a good backup process set up and working. All windows operating systems have a backup feature to help you recover if there is a system crash or your data is destroyed by a virus. Understanding how the backup works can be a bit technical, so get an expert to help you do the setup.

Just imagine that you turn on your computer and nothing happens. The computer will not start or if it does all of your data is gone.

No more photos, information document, links to your favorite websites, simple little clicks you have used for years to open emails, and personal information is GONE.

You may never recover over 90% of this information and it is lost forever!


So now what?

The information you have just read gives you a good idea about what we are all up against just wanting to use our computer and enjoy the wonders of the internet.


Some of this information is too technical for most users and getting the help and advice from a professional can really help.


The bottom line is to make sure you have a good anti-virus program installed and running on your computer, and is updated daily.


Did you know that your first line of defense from attacks is to have a password to start your computer. I am amazed at how many clients do not have a password set up to start their computer.

I hope this information helps you understand the importance trying to fight the never ending battle of trying to keep your computer safe from the constant attach of viruses and other harmful attacks.

Please contact me with any questions and I will be very glad to advise you on any problems that concern your Computer.


If you are interested in my Remote Monthly PC maintenance just contact me. I will take care of all your maintenance needs remotely that includes keeping your PC running smoothly and ensuring the best possible virus protection.