How to Avoid a Computer Virus – Tips from BitDefender

One of the most annoying and debilitating illnesses my family experienced this past year was a virus…

on our family computer.

Sure, I was pretty freaked out about H1N1. And last year we dealt with our share of barf-your-brains-out norovirus and seeping, crusty pinkyeye. But taking care of my family and children’s wellness is part of my job description as Mom and I have patience for those ailments.

But for my other, secondary job as a work-from-home-writer-editor-user-of-a-computer, computer viruses GET NO SYMPATHY FROM ME.

I’m not a tech geek.  I  just want to fire up my computer and have everything work well and fast so I can get my work done. But last year a random spyware  infected my system when I downloaded some seemingly-useful software.  I’m very careful with what I download, so I hunted around for the culprit in my files and registry of my hard drive like a mother whose darling child has lice.

I was finally able to uninstall the spyware, but until I hunted it down, my computer ran so slowly for awhile that I would literally be waiting for my cursor to blink. One evening, when I was afraid to lose my work, typing one graph took almost an hour. Oh, the horror.

So I’m all about staying computer virus-free. That’s one of the reasons I applied to be a  BitMom Blog Network Member (the other reasons were learning how to put up parental controls on the kids’ computer as they use it more and more for school and entertainment.)  And one of the cool perks of working with them is that BitDefender sends me these really easy-to-follow tips on how to keep my system healthy.  And now I’m sharing these with you.

Here are some great free tips to help you prevent a computer virus, provided by BitDefender.

  • Use a security solution but be aware that there are many fake security software solutions that masquerade as malicious applications.  Malicious applications tell you that your computer is highly infected and urge you to buy their product immediately.  Such messages will persist until you give in and pay, therefore allowing their creator to profit.  To avoid this scenario, do some research about what is available from trusted leaders in the internet security industry by reading third party reviews by institutions and review magazines who test and evaluate a wide range of security products.
  • Be aware of the websites you and your family visit. Clicking on links from friends, social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, or through instant messenger applications could potentially infect your machine.  The random clicking that your child does on the family computer could also lead to a malware installation. Also, never click on a link from an unknown source.  Kelton Research found that nearly 1 in 4 people admitted to clicking on a shortened link from someone they didn’t know.
  • Scan your CDs, USB flash drives, and other removable devices before opening the files on them and also scan your computer periodically to check its health.  BitDefender makes free tools that provide immediate checks at quickscan.bitdefender.com
  • Keep your computer up to date by installing the software updates. Even though it may take a little time to install and restart your machine, you will save yourself a lot of time in the long run by making your computer less vulnerable to malware.
  • Remember that internet security and antivirus software needs to be purchased every year.  BitDefender makes software good for multiple years at a time but an expired license can make you susceptible to viruses if you don’t purchase another security system in a timely manner.
About BitDefender®– BitDefender is the creator of one of the industry’s fastest and most effective lines of internationally certified security software. Every day, BitDefender protects tens of millions of home and corporate users across the globe — giving them the peace of mind of knowing that their digital experiences will be secure. More information about BitDefender and its products are available on the company’s website.

This article was provided as exclusive content by BitDefender because of my role as a BitMom Blog Network Member.  No compensation was received for sharing this post, however, BitMoms is providing me with a stipend to use at the blog conference of my choice and other materials to help me facilitate sharing topics of internet safety and security with my readers and through the BitMom Community.

UPDATE: The winners of the BitDefender 2010 & 2011 Internet Security Software Giveaway in June on A Parent in Silver Spring are…Sarah W., Lisa B. and Carrie!

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