Before a discussion of antivirus software can begin, it is important to know what a virus is. The virus we are talking about here is not the medical virus that can spread from one person to another, but a virus for a computer. It is funny because both types of these viruses have some similar properties in that computer viruses are contagious, and spread and infect other computers very quickly like human viruses. They are very common and most people have had the unpleasant experience of a computer virus just like the medical virus. In most cases a computer virus is a executable code. They are designed to create problems on the affected computer. You will know if you have a computer virus very quickly, because nothing will function as it should. If other computers are connected to this machine by network or email, the virus can be spread very quickly because the virus replicates itself to enter and infect these computers.
These viruses do basically three types of damage to the computer it affects. First is trojans or worms which are designed to steal important personal information such as your ID's, passwords, account numbers, and other personal information found on your computer. Another type is designed to gain access to your machine and then hijack it. Once it has control of the affected computer a hacker can use it for malicious purposes or as a spam machine to send thousands of unwanted emails. The last type is sometimes referred to as macro viruses. This type of virus is designed so they can delete or overwrite the system or data files on the affected computer. This causes the computer to crash and become unbootable or non operable. Many of the computers that get this type of virus have a crashed hard drive which is not repairable and all your data is lost permanently.
Now the best way to combat these infections is installing antivirus software. Good antivirus software comes with features like a built-in firewall and usually offers an access to online data backup. This antivirus software have the option to deactivate the malicious viruses. This antivirus software protects your computer from virus attacks in three main methods. The first method is prevention which involves detecting and eliminating new viruses from your computer. They get the latest virus definitions from their server so the know what to look for and protect against. The second method is cleaning infected computers. This involves detection and extermination of the virus, along with repairing the damaged files. The last method is protecting your computer by monitoring emails, downloads and protection while internet surfing. Also this method regularly scans your computer or a preset scheduler to keep you virus free.
Antivirus software is very effective in finding and deleting harmful computer viruses. Even so, computer users should follow some safety rules to stiffen protection even more:
-Do not open unsolicited e-mails. A lot of people tend to open unsolicited e-mail containing viruses, either unknowingly or absent-mindedly. A good rule of thumb is to never open emails from people you don't know.
-Never download an attachment to an email without scanning it for viruses first. Even if you are sure of the source and what it contains, it is always better to scan it before downloading.
-Make sure you also use a firewall.
-Don't download free software or music. When you do this you are just asking for trouble. So avoid this as much as possible.
-Don't use free antivirus software. They don't work very well at all. Buy I good one and remember you get what you pay for.
-Search on internet for antivirus reviews and research yourself for best antivirus software.