An anti-virus is your defense against all the maliciousness that floats around the Internet. But just like the cold and flu germs that are more vicious than ever, computer viruses are getting around these defenses with increasing regularity. So who can you trust?

Time and again, one of the most common computer problems faced by our clients are viruses and malware. They tear into you files crashing computers, locking up programs and stealing your data. Now the software that you’ve come to trust isn’t quite up to the task it once was. According to the New York Times (October 2010), Symantec Norton Internet Security has been shown in studies to only be effective 72% of the time!
The researchers stressed their belief that it wasn’t poor development on the part of these companies, but the rapidly evolving capabilities of the creators of these viruses that is to blame. Cybercriminals can have a success rate of up to 97% when using tactics designed to target you. They know the trick is to get your permission to invade your information. Our earlier post, Rogue Antivirus Malware is Running Rampant , shows you what deceitful tactics to be on the lookout for.

Why is this stuff getting through?!

The reason so many anti-virus programs miss the malicious software is the way it detects threats. These programs look at what is coming in to the computer rather than HOW it’s being delivered. This is why so many viruses disguise themselves as anti-virus or computer clean-up programs. Your virus protection won’t think twice about something you’ve given permission to.

So, how can you protect yourself and your computer?

  • We recommend using a free anti-virus program called Microsoft Security Essentials. You can find it on our Helpful Software page. Its success rate was scored higher by researchers than many other programs that cost, including Norton.
  • Don’t just rely on an anti-virus. Using an anti-malware program is like having a deputy there to back up the sheriff. You can also find a link to Malwarebytes Anti-malware on our Helpful Software page.
  • Be sure everything is up-to-date. New threats come out daily along with the updates to fight against them. Most programs can be set to automatically update, but we still recommend checking regularly to make sure the updates are happening as scheduled.

Approach the Internet with caution. It’s an amazing resource, but don’t trust everything that pops up on your screen. When in doubt, don’t click on anything. Just close out of your browser and then start a fresh session. If the pop ups continue, you may already be infected; try running your protection software. If that doesn’t work, give us a call at (706) 253-6362.