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Best Virus Protection Software by Experience

Removed viruses day by day

In my experience the worst feeling that you can have is the moment you realize your computer has a virus. Many thoughts run through your mind, "Did I lose personal information?", "Will I ever get it fixed completely?" and "How much will this cost me?" I worked for a small computer repair shop in Southlake, Texas and day in and day out we had a computer with a virus on it that came in. Luckily, with our skills and good utilities we were able to completely restore about 95% of those computers to good health. A few times we did have to back up and restore the whole computer which saddened us all. One thing we, at the shop, started to notice was what virus protection people had when they came in. Why weren't these programs stopping and preventing these malicious applications infesting the computer? That's where this post comes in. I would like to impart my knowledge and experience to help you know a little more about your possible dreadful experience. Below I would like to answer these often asked questions:

Where do viruses come from?

How did I get infected?

How do I remove this virus?

How can I be protected in the future?

Where do viruses come from?

For two years straight, the virus we saw the most is what we call "Ransom Ware." This is what it sounds like- the virus holds your computer for ransom. NOTE: Do not fall for this!!! This is when a program pops up on your computer pretending to be your virus protection and for a low, low price of $49 or $59, they will remove it for you. If you see this, STOP! You are looking AT the virus. We saw this virus pop up every year as the same name different year like "Virus Defender 2012" or "System Defender 2011." Side note, they just caught a group for this in Cincinnati,http://www.informationweek.com/security/vulnerabilities/fake-antivirus-ringleader-must-pay-163-m/240008388.

Another big group of viruses come from emails. Yep, you knew it. We get so much spam and so many crappy emails that we have to look at every one to make sure we don't miss something. Well keep in mind this simple trick: don't follow any links unless you know for sure where it will take you. The biggest emails going around now are "supposedly" from the United States Post Office or FedEx with a "package" for you. Yay!! A package for me! That's awesome with no thought of, "Wait, I didn't order anything."

These viruses can come from anywhere or from anyone. The biggest threat we hear and the last website people were on when getting the virus were, not in any order: Facebook, Yahoo search, and Bearshare. In the end, you are the best protection against viruses. As GIJoe says "Knowing is half the battle." Later I'll explain how to try and prevent.

How did I get infected?

As computers and technology get more and more complicated, viruses continue to evolve as well. In the beginning the first virus was a mistake. A simple program called "Creeper" was written as an experimental self-replicating program designed to show how a program could move between computers. This virus lost control and started infecting networked computers. From there we get to what we have today, full blown programs that look real but does so much more.

In its most simplistic definition a virus is just a program that is unwanted, destructive or down right annoying. Viruses are programs that are written to run outside of the confined space the Operating System (i.e. Windows/Linux/Mac OSX) gives it, to infect or manipulate other parts of your computer that it should not have rights to.

An example would be a virus from the internet: you are on Internet Explorer and a message pops up that says "You just won a million dollars, click here to get it!!" in bold colors and real looking logos. What do most of us try not to do? They make it look so inticing to click and when we do, Bam! The deed is done. Now, what you thought you were clicking on was another link but in fact it was a security question posed incorrectly. If the statement was correct it would have read "If you click ok, you have just told Internet Explorer to allow me access to your computer, Thanks!" Now the virus has broken out of its confined space, Internet Explorer, and is roaming your computer undetered, that is without virus protection.

This is the same with Emails, Peer to Peer sharing programs and many others. This is were the best protection comes in. We, the human variable, always have full power to stop 99% of all virues by learning and understanding how our computer works.

How do I remove this virus?

So now you are infected. First things most virues will do: Break Internet Explorer, Break your Virus Protection, Then infect your Operating System. You will soon notice these things happening too. They break your internet to stop you from getting help as it is the first place we all look. They break your virus protection so it truely can roam free and then it infects your operating system so that no mater how hard you try it will always be there lurking in the dark waiting to come out again. The best thing for most people to do is...Turn off your computer. Yeah, its not intuitive but if you don't know how to fix it then we need to try and stop it from getting any farther. After that seek help from a professional or a family member or good friend who knows about removing viruses. They should know how to turn on the computer without allowing the virus to start thus being able to remove it and its affects.

Now, if you really want to try and remove this virus then there are a few things you could try.

Note: There is a potential of loosing more data or your system if you don't know what you are working with. Tread lightly and seek help if your not sure what to do.

When first seeing the virus make note of what it was called and any pop ups that it might have shown. Having this information will help you to work on a different computer to look for a resolution. Search Google by the virus name and I'm sure, many others are having or have had this issue and know how to resolve it. After doing a little research and maybe a game plan we can try one thing first. That is loading the operating system in a type Safe Mode. In a Safe Mode we have only the basic components running. This means no virus running, no internet running, and no updating running. When in this mode you can run a virus scan on the system to detect and remove most of the virus parts. In most cases this will break the virus up so much that it wont start the next time you reboot the computer giving you your computer back and time to clean up the rest.

How can I be protected in the future?

If you haven't got a virus before or just recieved your first glimps into these annoyances you'll wonder, "How can I be protected in the future?" There are Three major things you can do to protect yourself in the future. These are ongoing things you must do but are easy once you get the hang of it.

First: Update your system regularly

All operating systems and programs have ways to update themselves. Most companies will hear of new viruses and change their programs accordingly to fix any issues it had before making the virus nullified even if it hits your computer. It is in our nature to not update as we see pop ups as annoying and we are always in the middle of doing something when they get our attention. Java is one of these that is the most annoying, yet one of the biggest needed to be updated. Most of the programs have ways to regularly update themselves to protect you. Things to update regularly:

Operating System: Windows / Linux / OS X 
Internet Browser: Internet Explorer / Firefox / Safari 
Programs: Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, Excel) / Java / Virus Protection

If you don't follow all of my advice at least follow this: update Windows. To do this with Windows XP, Open up Internet Explorer and click on Safety (IE8) then Windows Update. To do this with Windows Vista / 7, Click on start, then search for update and you will see Windows Update pop up, click on it and run for updates.

Second: Think before you act

If it seems to good to be true or a lie then it probably is. In many instances the program or operating system warns us before something is happening. Read the warnings carefully and ask others what it may mean. Knowing what you are allowing a program to do will help stop viruses.

Third: Have good Virus Protection

I know most of us are not in the position to buy more things or spend money on something we don't know will work or not. I want to give you a few options then. For the best free program what we have seen to be useful is AVG. Its free version is comprehensive and does a pretty good job...for being free. Another good option is a version put out by Windows called Security Essentials. It is a basic program that will run in the background and stop a good part of virues. But as we would always say to our customers "You get what you pay for". This is always true and is expecially true with software.

For advice on a Virus Protection program that we saw to be most effective and at a good price we always recommened Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security. This version of Trend Micro has everything you need and still treats you like the owner of the system (if you know what I mean). Some programs will deny even you access to do things. I know this is to protect you but in some cases we do need to do certain things. Other Virus Protection programs also make your system run extreamly slow. This is expecially true when we saw systems with Kaspersky and Webroot. Norton and McAfee have gotten better and not slowing your system down but have a lot of work in not taking over your computer.

Trend Mirco Internet Security is pretty much all you need. They have other versions that throw in other small features but we didn't feel it was worth the extra money. This version has a firewall, virus background scanner, PC performance tuner, and even child protection for the internet. You bearly notice it is running and you can manage when it notifies you of security threats. The default settings though are pretty good right out of the box. They have a free trial for 30 days to run it in full mode and feel how it runs (heres a link to try it outhttp://downloadcenter.trendmicro.com/, find Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security "year" for the latest one). Sometimes we would put on a free version of the software just to run the virus scan as it did so well in removing virues.

So remember these three steps to protecting your data and computer. Your laptop and computer contain so many things these days it would be unwise not to try and protect it.

Conculsion

Viruses have been know in so many ways and have come from so many different places. Remember we can't always protect from viruses and most Virus Protection software is not 100% but it will deffinetly slow down its effects and give you time to fix the issue before it goes to far. Protect your data, protect your life.

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