Can I Avoid Viruses Without Buying An Antivirus Program?

There are plenty of good antivirus programs out there that won’t break the bank – I would certainly recommend installing one of the programs on that list, especially as they are free. Alternatively, if you want an antivirus program that is more thorough then you could always looks at the top ten paid for antivirus programs of 2012 instead. Another option, which is one I personally wouldn’t suggest, is to run your computer without any antivirus protection at all.

no-antivirus

If you do that is it possible to avoid getting infected with viruses or any malicious software?

The answer to that is yes, you can surf the net safely without any security protection, but you do need to know what you are doing.

WATCH OUT FOR EXECUTABLE FILES

Most of the malicious programs and viruses out there in the wild get attached to files that have an .EXE extension.

An EXE extension means that the files must be run in order to pass on the infection.

Even if you download an infected file, you won’t get infected until you run that file.

So don’t run programs from sites that aren’t trusted especially some of the files that come from torrents and other file-sharing sources.

For these files you can use an antivirus to scan them before they run into your computer.

If you don’t have an antivirus installed, there is another option.

Some antivirus sites provide free online scanning features as a demo for their software before people buy it.

The idea is not to know how to disinfect your PC but how to prevent infection in the first place.

Use their online scan feature for your downloaded files to check if they’re infected.

You should note too that executable files do not always have .EXE extension so you can be tricked with different file types.

Below is a list with some of them that you should consider suspicious –

ADE – Microsoft Access Project Extension

ADP – Microsoft Access Project

BAS – Visual Basic Class Module

BAT – Batch File

CHM – Compiled HTML Help File

CMD – Windows NT Command Script

COM – MS-DOS Application

CPL – Control Panel Extension

CRT – Security Certificate

DLL – Dynamic Link Library

DO – Word Documents and Templates

EXE – Application

HLP – Windows Help File

HTA – HTML Applications

INF – Setup Information File

INS – Internet Communication Settings

ISP – Internet Communication Settings

JS – JScript File

JSE – JScript Encoded Script File

LNK – Shortcut

MDB – Microsoft Access Application

MDE – Microsoft Access MDE Database

MSC – Microsoft Common Console Document

MSI – Windows Installer Package

MSP – Windows Installer Patch

MST – Visual Test Source File

OCX – ActiveX Objects

PCD – Photo CD Image

PIF – Shortcut to MS-DOS Program

POT – PowerPoint Templates

PPT – PowerPoint Files

REG – Registration Entries

SCR – Screen Saver

SCT – Windows Scirpt Component

SHB – Document Shortcut File

SHS – Shell Scrap Object

SYS – System Config/Driver

URL – Internet Shortcut (Uniform Resource Locator)

VB – VBScript File

VBE – VBScript Encoded Script File

VBS – VBScript Script File

WSC – Windows Script Component

WSF – Windows Script File

WSH – Windows Scripting Host Settings File

XL – Excel Files and Templates

By default, Windows does not show the extension of the files, just the name.

Because this is hidden usually, you can be tricked into running infected applications.

WATCH OUT FOR DISGUISED EXTENSIONS

Names can be disguised with image, audio or other file types.

Let’s say you receive an image file ‘image-1.jpg’.

The ‘.jpg’ is not the actual extension of the file.

This is part of the file name.

The real extension could be ‘.exe’, ‘.com’ or other suspicious file types.

You can avoid this by turning off the ‘Hide extensions for known file types’ feature.

You can do this by going to My Computer > Tools > Folder Options >View and uncheck the ‘Hide extensions for known file types’ option.

WATCH OUT FOR ADWARE

Many software programs are offered in 2 versions, freeware or paid licensed.

Maybe you’re asking yourself why it is offered free?

Some advertising companies pay the license so the software is offered for free but in exchange of this they attach their advertisement programs to the software files.

When you install the program you will also install the annoying ads that open all kind of web pages and pop ups by themselves.

This is called adware.

Some of them can be unchecked during the installation but these are few and far between.

Try to avoid visiting or downloading files from porn , warez and cracking sites.

If you are a regular visitor to these kinds of websites you must have a good antivirus.

BROWSER HIJACKS

These pages can contain browser hijacking code that infects your computer with all kind of spyware, malware and adware.

Don’t open emails from unknown senders.

Thieves can get access to your email just by sending you an empty message, based on the cookies dropped in your PC.

PASSWORD SECURITY

If you use remote administration change the password to something really hard to guess.

Try combination of letters, numbers, caps letters and symbols.

This way, brute force programs won’t guess your password in a million years.

Audio, movie and image files cannot get infected.

FAKE ANTIVIRUS PROGRAMS

Some sites are infected with malicious code that make your PC act strange and then open messages that your PC is infected and you should buy their security software to get rid of the virus.

Don’t trust these sites.

If you see these kind of messages or pop ups immediately close the browser and delete all the cookies and temporary internet files as they are probably trying to trick you into buying fake antivirus or other rogue programs.

ITS NOT PERSONAL

Be more careful when you surf online but don’t become paranoid.

You are not the target of any hacker.

The number of people that get infected with nasty viruses are few compared to the number of internet users.

Professional hackers don’t target ordinary internet users.

If you get infected you can easily format the hard drive and reinstall Windows.

Hackers prefer to target large companies so they can wreak havoc within their databases or security systems.

These are companies where this kind of damage involves a huge cost in time and money to resolve.

Fixing it isn’t just as simple as reinstalling Windows for them.

If you are still very scared and paranoid, change your operating system to something UNIX based such as an Apple Mac as I’ve heard they never suffer with malware 😀

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. Nice article. I do not use AV or a software firewall and I have not seen a virus for years, well not in my PC. Actually is quite hard to get infected these days, my friend visit porno webpages daily, uses warez and he has never got infected either. I would add some notes though: Keep all software updated, not just Windows, to limit security exploits to minimum. KC Sumo is a nice freeware, that will do it or Secunia PSI. Use a limited account, in Vista/7 it means to keep UAC at max and do not turn it off. Open emails in TXT format not HTML and avoid opening attachments. Use safer DNS, like Norton, Google, OpenDNS. Make sure, that all ports are closed, the simplest way is to use a router like a hardware firewall. Use ADblock and flashblock, it will speed up and safer browsing and it is not that annoying like noscript blocker.

    • Thats all good advice Tom but I’m shocked when you say, “my friend visit porno webpages daily, uses warez and he has never got infected either.” How on earth has he got away with that for so long???

  2. you did well.

  3. do send me tips on antivirus free operations.

  4. ha ha, yep, they certainly do!

  5. Agreed, neither of those are totally infallible and some people have a false sense of security with regard to their os.

  6. I certainly wouldn’t risk it these days, even with a Linux machine or Mac.

  7. Thats certainly an interesting article, full of good tips but as you say, it is far too dangerous to go on the web without a good av these days.

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