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.
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.
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.
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 😀