Pogo, Gold Coast Computer Services, spend a great deal of our time working with customers on detecting and removing viruses. It need not be this way, with many great options to protect you from computer viruses and to detect and remove viruses.
When it comes to virus protection and removal you have many very good options available to you. First up let’s discuss protection from computer viruses.
Protection from computer viruses
If you’re a home user you can choose from a number of free anti-virus programs. Our personal favourite is Microsoft’s Security Essentials. We don’t have universal praise for it (Mark thinks Microsoft has a conflict of interest, providing a solution to a problem that shouldn’t exist with their security) but we do have many PCs protected by Security Essentials that require no other virus protection or removal.
With the change from XP to Vista and now Windows 7 Microsoft improved their firewall and for most people this firewall combined with good anti-virus will be all the protection they need. If you still have Windows XP you might want to consider purchasing a computer security suite that includes a firewall, or better yet upgrade to Windows 7.
Here is a short list of free anti-virus for the home user
If you’re a business user you might be able to get by with Microsoft Security Essentials. Please read their fine print carefully (because I’m no lawyer) but by my reading of their license agreement tells me that small business may use Microsoft Security Essentials. I quote, “Small Business. If you operate a small business, then you may install and use the software on up to ten (10) devices in your business.” If you have ten PCs or less you may as well use Security Essentials because it’ll be all the protection a desktop will need.
If you’re looking to pay for virus protection there are almost too many options to mention. We tend to use Bit Defender, Kaspersky and NOD32 as our main anti-virus programs but there are plenty more out there that all do a great job. Pick one with a long standing reputation and install it with confidence.
Now that your PC is protected the most important link in the protection/virus equation is you the computer user. It’s the same with your house. You can install state-of-art locks and security systems but if you forget to lock the front door it means nothing. With viruses that analogy is not quite accurate, it’s should be, “…if you invite the burglar in it means nothing.” Most of the viruses we see on PCs are caused by the behavior of the user. Broadly speaking they visit dangerous websites or engage in dangerous internet activities such as:
- peer-to-peer downloading
- bit torrent downloading
- websites for cracked serials for programs and games
- website for pornography
There is no such thing as a free ride and often the payback for all those free movies and songs is a nasty virus. Downloading music without paying for it is illegal and immoral, and that should be deterrent enough, but if you want further disincentive then please consider the likelihood of getting viruses. Music downloading is commonly the cause of viruses.
I’m infected. What now?
Okay, so you can hardly surf the net without something popping up in front of you and your credit card has just been stripped of all value. Time to clean the PC. Often your anti-virus is not best placed to clean the PC. Sometimes your anti-virus program has been attacked and no longer works. Other times it recognized the virus but cannot fully remove it because the virus is pretending to be an essential service.
We find that Malware Bytes is excellent for removing viruses from PCs. It rarely fails us. The beauty of a program like this is that it identifies the viruses and then removes them during a reboot, when the virus can’t hide behind it’s own protection as a running service.
Also recommended is Spybot Search and Destroy. It’s been around for years and is just as good now as it was way back when.
The other main tool in your armory is Ad-Aware. This thorough and professional tool has proved itself over and again.
Rules To Live By
- get protected
- surf safely
- run a scan with your main anti-virus regularly
- run a second scan with one of the three listed above regularly
Pogo mend a lot of viruses-ridden computers and while it makes up a handy part of our income we’d rather people keep their PC clean and safe. If you follow a few simple rules as outlined above you should keep a clean PC.
If you do have a problem though, please call Pogo.
Pogo also has for sale some trusted anti-virus and computer internet security software.