virus21Virus protection software just might be the most important piece of software on your computer. No… let me revise that. It IS the most important piece of software on your computer. Viruses can really wreck havoc on a computer. Why do they exist? I say bored, brilliant, evil people. Sigh.. 

The guest post below gives you some valuable information about virus protection software.


When’s the last time you updated your virus protection?

You aren’t just using the program that came with your computer, are you?

The truth is that just like real viruses, computer viruses mutate. It’s called metamorphic code, and the short definition is that viruses learn how to evade antivirus programs the same way bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics.

When a virus has metamorphic code, it rewrites itself, sometimes as often as every time it infects a new computer. That means that your version of the virus is different than the version that infected your kid’s or spouse’s computer when he or she accidentally clicked on that unsafe link.

Then, of course, there are polymorphic viruses. These type of viruses do not rewrite themselves, but they do encrypt their internal viral code, making them nearly impossible to detect by antivirus software. To knock out a polymorphic virus, you often have to reinstall your operating system.

These types of viruses, plus others that will no doubt be created this year and in years to come, require you to be extra-vigilant in how you treat your computer and your home network. First: you should download an internet protection system for viruses. If you already have an antivirus system on your computer, make sure you are running the latest update; often, these types of software do not update themselves and must be updated manually, by someone with administrator rights.

Yes, you can install new internet protection software in addition to your current antiviral software. Although the prevailing theory for years was that you should only have one antiviral program on your computer, programs have changed and there is now a strong argument for running multiple types of protection software. For  best results, have one program running continuously and run the other program weekly to catch anything the primary program missed.

Once you have your internet protection system set up, it’s time to practice safe surfing. New phishing attacks, such as Twitter-based attacks called “twishing,” use sophisticated techniques to try to gain access to your computer. The messages and requests appear legitimate: for example, a friend may send you the message “look at these pics I have of you.” Learn the most common twishing, phishing, and computer virus messages so you know how to avoid them, and never click on a link you don’t trust.

Then, learn how your computer behaves when it is infected with spyware, malware, or viruses. Often, your online speed drops considerably. Sometimes, your browser reroutes itself to virus-related sites, such as what happened during the famous Google Redirect Virus of 2012.

If you have a virus and your antiviral software is unable to remove it from your system, you have a few options. First, you can roll back your computer to what is termed “the last known good configuration.” This fix rolls back your operating system to a previous configuration while still keeping your files and saved documents intact. If a virus was installed on September 15, for example, rolling back to September 1’s configuration often eliminates the virus.

You can also take your computer to the professionals. The Geek Squad and the Geniuses might be expensive, but they know how to get rid of stubborn viruses without damaging your computer in the process.

Lastly, if all else fails, you sometimes have to reinstall your operating system. Yes, this will erase all of your files, so make sure you have a backup ready to reload your pictures and documents after your operating system is reinstalled. Reinstalling your OS is a last-effort move, but is sometimes necessary to ensure your computer’s security.

The fact is that hackers, phishers, and other people after your computer’s information are going to continually come up with new and complex ways of gaining access to your system. It’s your job to fight back by updating your virus protection, running two different programs to catch everything, avoiding unsafe links and other threats, learning how your computer behaves when it is infected, and understanding how to remove viruses when they attack.

So: update your antivirus software today, and consider installing a second program.