If you spend any time at all watching the news lately you should know something about computer viruses. They are getting pretty scarey lately, with some real bad ones on the loose. It's almost enough to unplug your computer and swear off the internet forever.


Don't do that. There are ways to protect yourself. And if you do connect to the internet in any way (or get files from an outside source) YOU MUST INSTALL ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE ON YOUR COMPUTER. In addition, you must keep the virus definitions up to date.

To buy some anti-virus software, check out some sites with suggestions and choose one of the programs offered. I prefer Norton Anti-virus - it's one of the best all-around solutions.

In addition to purchasing an anti-virus program, it would be a good idea to periodically check out the virus research sites. By reading through these on a regular basis (once a month perhaps), you will gain a better understanding of what is going on and how to protect yourself.

A very good place to start is the Symantec Anti-Virus Research Center (SARC for short). This site always has great information as well as a full blown, online virus encyclopaedia. When you visit this site for the first time, be sure and subscribe to their monthly newsletter.

Another good site to check out is Content Technologies. These guys create software which scans emails and web pages for undesirable words and phrases as well as viruses. I've found their site (under Threatlab) is a great place to get data about the most recent virus threats. They also have a newsletter which is great for keeping up to date.

The site run by McAfee also has great information, and they also send out periodic newsletters to your email. Register for their service (it's free) in order to gain access to their online database.

An excellent site to visit once a month or so is the Microsoft Security site at If you use Microsoft products at all you should subscribe to the security bulletin and visit this site occasionally. This will help you plug the security holes in your Microsoft products as soon as patches are released.

And, of course, the best advice is to beware of opening emails and files (executables) from unknown sources. If you follow this practice, read materials from the above sites regularly, install and regularly update your anti-virus softeware, than you should be fine.

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