Viruses, Trojans and Worms, Oh My!

If you have never had an experience with your computer getting a virus, Trojan or worm, you are one of the luckiest pc users out there; you are extremely careful or brand new to using the Internet

Practice good sense to avoid these evils. Do Not Open Attachments! This is rule number one! Some types of attachments are generally safe to open, but virus writers are sneaky and getting sneakier all the time. They can disguise an attachment to make you think it is safe. Always save attachments to disk & scan with a virus scanner before opening. If you get an email from someone with an attachment, email him or her back to see if they intentionally sent it. If not, delete it unopened.

Everyday it seems there is a new virus waiting to attack our computers. Because of this, some people who think they are funny start sending out emails that are virus hoaxes. These emails usually have something like 'Tell everyone you know' and warnings like 'It will delete everything on your C drive'. Before you forward this type of email, check it for Hoaxes. One of the most famous of these virus hoaxes is call the 'jdbgmgr.exe' hoax. It tells you to search your hard drive for this file & delete it. Because for some reason Microsoft gave this file a cute little icon, (see side panel) people believe this hoax. This file is NOT a virus, it is part of Windows. Don't delete it!

Be sure to check the Windows Update site on a regular basis. Download & install the security patches.

One of the most important things you can do to prevent getting one or more of these nasties is get a good virus checker and keep it updated. Keeping it updated doesn’t mean once a month, but at the very least weekly. Get a program that will scan all incoming email.

Even if you update every day, it doesn’t guarantee your pc won’t get infected. It usually takes a few days after a new virus shows up before the anti-virus companies have detection in place to catch it.

Besides getting an unwelcome addition to you computer in an email, there are other ways for your pc to get infected. If you download program files you may also get a 'vermin' on your computer. If you do download a program, make sure it is from one of the better know download sites, such as ZDNET, CNET or a similar site. Another way people get virus is by downloading music files. Virus can 'piggy back' on these downloads.

I have only had one experience of getting a virus. I never did know exactly where I got it, but it was a very unpleasant episode. This led to learning how to reformat my drive & re-install everything. Since I did not have backups of a lot of things I lost a lot of data. This taught me another valuable lesson, make backups! (See cartoon on the side panel!)

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