By David Glick for Phoenix Computer Repair

You probably have heard of computers getting infected with viruses (which are actually software programs written by people for fun and for profit), and you may have been a victim yourself once or more than once. The question we will answer here is how can you help prevent your computer from getting infected with a virus?

First, keep your computer updated and keep current antivirus software installed on your computer. Also know, however, that this will not stop all infections. Why? Because the bad guys are constantly inventing new viruses and it can take months before the good guys (antivirus companies) can find and fight the new bad software (also known as malware).

So here are the secrets to preventing these malware infections:

1) Be diligent about where you go on the Internet – if a website address does not feel right, then do not go there.
2) Use the most current browser you can. For example, the most current version of Internet Explorer on Windows XP is 8. This version is now outdated and not recommended for use anymore. Therefore, we recommend using Mozilla Firefox on all Windows XP machines, and even for Windows Vista and 7 (more on why in a moment).
3) Use an ad-blocker with your browser. Unfortunately the bad guys have figured out that they can install malware scripts in otherwise benign advertisements on web pages, causing infection on page load. Even Yahoo! Finance, MSN, and other commercial websites have been affected by this.
4) If you use IE, you can download and install simple-adblock, free for the first 100 webpages per day and $30 for unlimited protection. Here is why you will want to use Firefox – because the same company provides Ad Block Plus for Firefox for FREE at adblockplus.org. Use Firefox and download and install Ad Block Plus for additional protection against virus infections.
5) I cannot emphasize enough – antivirus protection will NOT stop all infections:

A) Be careful where you go when searching on the Internet – one wrong page and you could get infected.
B) If you use Facebook or MySpace, do not click on links from your friends unless you are absolutely sure they are safe.
C) If you get an email from a friend or relative that says some nonsense or something non-personal and comes with a link, do NOT click the link. Their email account has been hacked – tell your friend or relative to change their password to a strong password (see our previous post on how to make a strong password that you will remember).
D) While we are at it, if you get an email from a friend, relative or acquaintance that says they are stuck out of the country and need money, verify the story first – there is a 99% chance their email account has been hacked and the thieves are trying to steal your money. Again, tell your friend, relative, or acquaintance that their email account has been hacked and they need to change their password.

I hope this has been beneficial to you and helps prevent your computer from getting infected. The Internet is a great place but it can be dangerous – be careful out there!

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