Virus Protection

 by Allan J. Greenberg

According to one virus protection software company, there are over 56,000 viruses that have been identified. So, what can you do to protect your computer from a virus? Here's one approach.

First, let's talk about what a virus is. Unlike the "virus" that afflicts humans, viruses are not passed from computer to computer via coming in close proximity to one another or by contact. A computer virus is transmitted by code buried in software or by attachment to e-mail messages. Viruses in software are transmitted to your computer, not usually from software that you purchase, but by software that you may acquire or use from other people.

What do viruses do in your computer? Everything from benign viruses which may just display a message on your monitor to deleting the contents of your hard drive. Or, a virus may replicate itself and send out multiple e-mail messages. This type of virus causes a pyramid effect and can bring down an Internet Service Provider or block normal Internet traffic.

How can you protect yourself from viruses? The best way to protect your computer from viruses is to install a virus protection program. There are a number of very good virus protection programs on the market. Two of which are sold by McAfee and Symantec (Norton) . But as important as it is to install a virus checking program in your computer it is extremely important to keep the program up-to-date. Virus checking programs can only detect and clean viruses that it knows about. This information is contained in a database and is installed in your computer when you install the virus checking program. As new viruses are created, no information is available in the database that you have in your computer. So, it is up to the computer user to maintain the latest virus information in the database. This is done by downloading a new database often to your computer. In most cases, database updates may be obtained from the company that provided the virus protection program, usually free for a period of time.

There are excellent virus checking programs that are FREE. One such product comes from Grisoft Inc. and is called AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition. To download this antivirus software, you can go to the following web site: In addition to providing a free virus checking program, Grisoft Inc. provides free updates of the virus database.

Another antivirus program is a product of ALWIL and is called avast! 4 Home Edition. This program and its database updates are free. You can find the download Web page at:

By keeping your virus checking program up-to-date, you can be reasonably assured that you are protected against viruses.