How Did I Get That Virus??

I had Antivirus software installed!

So many people get unwanted or harmful software on their computers that cleaning up the mess is a billion-dollar business.

It’s easy to get malware (Malicious Software) on your computer- so easy anyone can do it! It takes no skill or talent. What it does often take is simply not paying attention. Some of the many ways you can get unwanted or malicious stuff on your computer include:

  • Clicking on pop-up windows that say “You have a virus,” or “You need a browser update,” or “You need a media or Flash player update.”
  • The Defense: Know what antivirus software you have. If you don’t know, hover your mouse over all those icons down by the clock (Click the little up arrow to the left of the icons to see the hidden ones) until you see one that says antivirus. Common and respected brands include Symantec Norton, McAfee, Bitdefender, AVG, Kaspersky, and Avast. if you don’t see antivirus on your machine, get some! Ignore all “Virus” windows that do not have the name of your antivirus! Also, do not ever click on windows that say you need a browser or media player update to view a web page. No web page is interesting enough to warrant malware.
  • Installing software from un-trusted sources.
  • The Defense: Never install software from email attachments,  links in emails or social networks. Get the Web of Trust ( browser add-on for each of your installed browsers. It’s not perfect, but it can help warn you about malicious websites.
  • Installing even legitimate software without reading the installation screens can get you unwanted extras like toolbars.
  • The Defense: Read each screen carefully when installing software and un-check any pre-checked boxes, even if they say (Recommended). The only reason it’s recommended is it makes somebody money.
  • Frequenting “Shady” sites such as illegal download (Warez) sites, porn sites, or any others of questionable legality. You can, in fact, get a virus just by visiting a poisoned site. This is known as a “Drive-by” download.
  • The Defense: Don’t go there!
  • Failing to update Windows or your web browser.
  • The Defense: Make sure Automatic Updates are turned on. (This applies even if you have a Mac. They are not immune!) Make sure you have the latest version of third-party browsers (Chrome, Opera, and Firefox are the most common). You can update them and much more easily by visiting
  • General complacency. The Internet is not as safe a place as some people believe. This doesn’t mean you should stay away, but, just as you look both ways before you cross the street, pay attention when on the Internet. If something looks fishy, it probably is!

For more information:

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