A computer virus is a program that can copy itself and infect many PC’s. The term “computer virus” was coined in 1983 by Fred Cohen, an American computer scientist. Computer viruses are also commonly referred to as malware, spyware, worms and Trojans. Each is a variant of a computer virus. While some are created for malicious purposes (ex. wipe your PC hard drive), others have specific tasks to carry out; such as looking for a string of numbers commonly known to fit a credit card number (ex. 16 numeric characters with a space every four) then copy it. Others are created solely to trick you into spending money on products and/or services you don’t need. Ever had a “program” you didn’t remember installing pop up and tell you it has detected a virus, then ask you for a credit card number to resolve the issue? Many are there just to cause you headaches. Ever received an email from a family member who never emails you asking you to sign a petition which will grant you $5 per signature from Bill Gates? Sometimes that’s just SPAM, but often it’s a virus collecting emailing lists to blast even worse things at you later. Sometimes viruses gain access to your computer through flaws in your operating system or other programs.
Recently I had a local resident bring her computer in stating that she was on a famous social media site and received a message from “a friend” to “check out” a video. When she clicked on the link, her computer was immediately inundated with pop-ups and started running slower than usual. When we cleaned up her PC, we found 84 instances of different variants of viruses.
The first step to staying ahead of these miniature headaches is to install an anti-virus program. Here are two examples of how anti-viruses protect your PC, and thus, your privacy.
1. Anti-virus programs stay ahead of viruses by looking at files and searching for known viruses by means of a virus dictionary. If your anti-virus is not up-to-date, the newest definitions will not be downloaded and you’ll be vulnerable.
2. Anti-virus programs discern whether your PC is infected by identifying suspicious behavior from any computer program; which could indicate infection.
The next step is to make sure that your anti-virus service remains up-to-date. If you don’t renew when it warns you it will expire, the service is only as good as the last virus definition list downloaded from the anti-virus provider.
A simple way to prevent this problem is to sign-up for Cartish Home Care solution. For $9.99/month per PC (offered through April 30, 2010, $14.99 thereafter), Cartish Home Care affords you with a full suite of security from computers viruses, spyware, malware and infected links. Our service updates virus definitions every 4 hours to assure you always have the most recent definitions. Because it is a service, it never expires and you’ll never have to worry about renewing. This service also provides you remote PC access from anywhere in the world as long as your PC is on and connected to the internet (which is great when you want to share pictures with extended family but you left them on your PC at home). You also benefit from this service by receiving one hour (no carry-over) of remote support during business hours every month ($100 value).
For information about this service or any other computer related needs, stop by, call, or email us and let us know how we may serve you.
Randy Hurtado is a Microsoft Certified Professional and Business Development Manager for Cartish Technologies located at 605 NE Big Bend Trail, Glen Rose, TX 76043 – 877-304-CARTISH.