Protecting your computer and your data demands the use of quality anti-virus software. Be sure to locate a package that matches your operating system, such as Windows, Macintosh, or Linux.
Windows Anti-Virus Software
Often your first line of defense against viruses, worms, and spyware is up-to-date Windows anti-virus software. Keeping your anti-virus software current with the latest updates from the publisher will ensure that it is capable of preventing and removing even the latest virus threats. Viruses are constantly adapting to new anti-virus programs, so be sure to update your anti-virus software at least once a week.
Computer viruses can affect most operating systems, but Microsoft Windows is especially vulnerable. A virus is really just a small piece of software that runs on your computer and does harmful things. For example, a virus might delete important files, transmit private information to third parties, or convert your computer into a zombie bot. A zombie computer is a system that has been compromised by the people who write viruses and reprogrammed to attack other people's systems. Downloading windows anti-virus software will help prevent the spread of malware not just to your own computer but to other systems as well. But beware! Just because you're using updated windows anti-virus software doesn't necessarily keep you entirely immune. There are other threats, often classified as spyware or simply malware, meaning "bad software".
Worms, Trojans, Spyware
There are a lot of different classifications of malware. So what is the difference between a worm, a trojan horse, spyware, and a run of mill virus? From a practical point of view, there is no difference. These are all types of software designed to harm you and your computer. No matter what you call them, the fact remains that virus software is the #1 threat to computer security. All Windows computer users are urged to use some form of anti-virus software.
The history of malware dates back to the early days of personal computing. The first virus ever written was less than 500 bytes and it was designed to do little more than self-propagate. Later revisions became more elaborate and introduced charactistics such as surprise pop-up messages. As time progressed, they became increasingly sinister, doing things such as deleting hard drives and destroying operating systems. Protecting yourself should remain a priority for all computer users. Even just a single mistake can lead to the installation of a virus that could render your computer inoperative.