Viruses, Trojans and Spyware: Protecting yourself.
No user on the internet is safe from assault. Viruses, Trojans and Spyware can all effect your computer by placing annoying ads, tracking your credit card numbers, or even slow it down to a certain extent it is deemed no longer usable. By following through these simple steps, you can help protect yourself from the internet.
High CPU Usage: If your computer seems to be slower than usual, it is very likely that you have been infected. Background services can slow down your computer, and to check performance, enter Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Delete). Then, click on the processes tab. You will be able to see active processes that are running. To find what should be running on your computer, visit http://www.theeldergeek.com/services_guide.htm.
Check your level of protection: A good way to know whether you are safe or not is by using security tools. Here are some you should try out:
NeWT 2.1: This is a very simple tool to use, and it scans for more than 4000 common security vulnerabilities. Download NeWT here: http://www.tenablesecurity.com/newt.htm
Sumantec security check: This is a free service provided by Symantec. Simply visit here (www.sumantec.com), then select Scan for Security Risks. It will only tell you what vulnerabilities you have, but however it won't tell you how to fix them.
Infinitive! Port Scanner: Our very own online port scanner! http://infinate.x10hosting.com/phport
Update Yourself: Install all the latest update possible. Service Pack 2 is a good way to start if you're running Windows XP. Enable Automatic Updates, and make sure you have the latest updates on your PC.
Safe Surfing: Due to Internet Explorer's high popularity, it is usually safe to change altogether. A common program now is known as FireFox (www.mozilla.com/products/firefox), which is fast, responsive and similar to Internet Explorer. However a major flaw with FireFox is that you will need to install additional plug-ins in order for you to view certain pages.
Make Regular Backups: Prepare for the worst. Make regular backups of your important files and store them on a type of offline storage.
Don't open suspicious links: If you are sent a link you are not sure about, do not open them, Simple. Another good way is to avoid suspicious sites altogether. Many programs too, bundle with spyware, so when you download them make sure they are stated "Freeware", nothing else.
Program Protection: Use Anti-Virus and Firewall software. McAfee is a highly recommended product over Symantec, but there are also other free anti-virus/firewall software online such as NOD32. http://www.nod32.com/
If you have been infected: Find cleaning instructions online on sites such as http://vil.nai.com. It will tell you where to locate your infection, and where to find and remove it. System Restore is also a good option on Windows XP. To use System Restore, go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, System, System Restore. Simply click a restore point and reboot.
You can also remove viruses using the programs listed under Program Protection. To remove Spyware, Spybot S&D (http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html) is a free yet useful tool to use.
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