The 12 Don'ts of Virus Protection (and
- Be careful installing "free" software. Software "pay" for the "free price" by tagging other software onto their install. Appreciate I won't name the culprits but I'm sure you have seen software that you regularly use sending a message that it needs upgrading. As part of the upgrade, other, less desirable software gets quietly installed on your computer. There have been many computers that I have seen that have Browser Toolbars where the client says "I didn't install that".
- Be careful "of the edges". By that I mean advertising banners on the top, left, bottom and right and right in the middle of proper information. Many news oriented sites, auction and selling sites and "famous people" sites are affected by this. And they are getting really tricky. They use similar fonts, colors and styles so they look like just another new article - BUT THEY ARE NOT. They are often bad things.
- Emails from your "FRIENDS". Hackers are getting people's real email user ids and sending "bad" things in the email. As an example, my daughter "sent" me an email. I was curious so I "looked under the covers" and it wasn't sent by her - sure enough, it was a link to a virus.
- Web site that tells you "you need to upgrade your driver or software". 99% of the time (notice I only said 99%), they are lying to you. As a good example a Torrent site stated the video needed upgrading. Don't know what a Torrent site is? It is a file sharing system. Because it is ONLY a file sharing system, it shouldn't care what the file is and certainly not care what YOUR software is.
- Be careful of misspelled sites. There is a CCN.COM but there is also a CNN.CA and no, it's not the Canadian version. I'm not saying that this one is bad, but some misspelled sites are bad. I know of a person who misspelled a well known site and ended up at a child porn site.
- Be VERY skeptical of web sites that promise to speed up your computer. MOST are viruses; the remaining ones don't speed up your computer. The same goes for the ones you see on TV. We see them installed all the time, they only slowed the computer more.
- If, MAGICALLY, you get
a screen popping up on your computer stating that you have a whole bunch
of viruses and it is not software you installed, be skeptical. MOST
/ All are "virus-like software"; by that I mean they installed
themselves on your computer in a nefarious way; they claim you have
viruses that you likely don't have; and they are very, very difficult
to un-install or even shut down. You need to get these uninstalled before
they let actual viruses into your computer. We see these all the time,
they only slow the computer and scare you into paying for their service.
- Also, web sites that tell you your system drivers are "out of date" are mostly useless. They are either viruses or clicker sites (just get you to click from site to site to site) or just give you a massive list of drivers that are not even related to your hardware. There are some sites that do this correctly but they will ask for money up front and the information they provide are, shall we say, not PC novice friendly.
- When you get the phone call, "This is Microsoft and you have a problem with your computer", hang up, or better yet, put them on hold for 1/2 an hour then hang up. Microsoft or Eastlink or anyone else will never initiate a call to you. They are all frauds and many will install harmful stuff onto your computer. Our recommendation if they get on is reinstall your system.
- When you suspect you do have a virus, unless you are a techie, I implore you, bring it in right away. Here is the issue. One virus is usually not a problem. But often, once you have a couple, one of them will open up the doors (firewall ports for the techies) and let their friends in. Once you get a bad one, the price to fix goes up exponentially. One client had a few viruses, worked with their provider to fix it without success and by the time CCS got a hold of it, we could only reinstall the operating system. Too much damage had been done so all type of system files had been corrupted.
- Back up what you wouldn't want to lose. There are "viruses" out there that will lock all your personal files so you can't read them without a key. The "key" will be sold to you by the virus creator. The cost varies from $500 to $2000 US. Search Crypto-Locker in Google to learn more about one example of this. If you get one of these no one can help you without a backup.
- And finally - here comes the advertisement. Don't use an Antivirus just because your friend tells you to. Make sure the friend KNOWs what they are taking about. The number of times someone comes into our business with some free antivirus software and they are full of viruses - fill in the rest of this story. Most free antivirus software also have a paid version. Guess what - the free one is missing stuff that is important. CCS took a long time testing and selecting the one we offer for sale.
Following these steps will go a long to keep you out of virus hell. A good antivirus alone isn't enough. If a web site "asks", through misdirection or otherwise, your permission to install a program and you say "yes", its kind'a hard for the antivirus to say no.