I need help with viruses on my computer. I have Norton installed but I still
get viruses. I can’t prevent them.
Can’t prevent viruses?
Well, ultimately, you can!
So… There are a couple of different issues that I want to talk about with this question.
I have an article on that: “I run anti-virus software. Why do I sometimes still get infected?“
The virus race
The bottom line is that it’s ultimately a race. It’s a race between the different kinds of anti-malware technologies and the people who write malware. They come up with new techniques; new things to exploit and they push their viruses and malware out quickly, more quickly than software like anti-malware tools can be updated.
Imagine… it takes a little bit of time for something as complicated as an anti-malware tool to actually respond to tricky techniques with the complicated algorithms that they need to use to detect viruses – without detecting false positives.
So it’s a race. Malware is being created every day and anti-malware software is being updated. But it always (almost by definition) lags behind by some amount of time – during which you and I, and everyone else, are vulnerable to these new and increasingly more destructive pieces of malware.
Stay up to date
So, that’s one of the reasons that I always, always so strongly recommend that you make sure your anti-malware software is up to date with the latest version.
Make sure that the latest version of that software is configured to get its updates automatically – particularly the updates to the database of malware that they use. That typically will get updated at least once a day and sometimes more often.
Make sure that your software is configured to automatically take those updates.
So, with that out of the way… “You can’t prevent them?”
Unfortunately, I strongly disagree. If you’re constantly getting malware; if you are constantly getting viruses on your computer, to put it bluntly, you’re doing something wrong.
Now, something wrong may be as simple as not having a firewall installed or having other technical issues like: not keeping your anti-malware software up to date, and so forth. Do those.
But more importantly, nine times out of ten, viruses don’t arrive on your computer because they tried to get in, they arrive on your computer because you invited them in. That typically takes one of two forms: either you downloaded and ran an attachment that came via email – or you downloaded a file of some sort and ran it from a site that is (to put it bluntly) less than reputable.
It’s under your control
So, a lot of malware prevention is, in fact, in your own hands. It’s part of your own habits and how you operate your computer on the internet safely.
So I’m going to point you at another article. It’s actually what I consider to be my most important article – and that is “Internet Safety: Keeping Your Computer Safe on the Internet.” It covers not only what I’ve talked about here: malware, malware tools, keeping things up to date and so forth but also talks a little bit about making sure that you are using the internet in a safe way.
That’s what I would suggest you start with; that you review those things – and as I say, make sure that your software is being updated and updated regularly.
(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)
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