If a father buys his child a brand new sports car, instead of buying his child a forty year old tin can car, what is he expecting? He is expecting the car he purchased to run faster, be more reliable, and last a long time. It’s the same thing when you are getting computer programs to protect your computer. You want to get the best programs to ensure that you have a faster and more reliable Internet, and that your computer will last a long time.
We all want to be safe, but we need to know what the dangers are first. What are the dangers in the cyber-world? There are a few main things to look for. There are computer viruses. A computer virus is a computer program that can copy itself onto your computer without your approval or knowledge. They infect your computer, and can sometimes be very difficult to remove. A computer virus can do everything from slowing your computer down, to deleting your vital files, to making your system crash. Computer viruses come in all shapes and sizes. There are over 10,000 known viruses available to infect your computer. They do different things. Some are so difficult to remove that when you try to remove the virus, the virus reinstalls itself back on your system. When trying to keep your computer safe from computer viruses, you should get some anti-virus software. But beware, when the software is created, it is given a white list of all the known viruses out there at the current time. If you have some software made in 2004, and has not been updated since then, then anything current would be able to get past your software without detection. The most popular type of anti-virus software is the kind that searches your system for viruses you already have, and it terminates them. There are also other programs that will look for any suspicious behavior among your computer programs. If it sees any, it will notify you. But, there is a catch. Every program that acts suspiciously isn’t always a virus. So when you are notified, you may just think that it’s nothing. It is like the fable of the boy who cried wolf. You will think that your anti-virus program didn’t really find a virus, when it really did, and you’ll allow the virus to install itself on your computer. Be cautious of false alarms, and real threats. You can get anti-virus software wherever computers are sold or online. Also remember, most systems are equipped with anti-virus programs when you purchase them, but they will want you to sign up for an annual subscription. The more up-to-date your anti-virus program, the more effective it will be.
Another danger is spyware. The name spyware implies that someone is spying on you. This is true, but unfortunately, that isn’t all that spyware does. Spyware is a computer program that is secretly installed on your computer and the spyware takes partial control of your computer. That means the spyware can access your files, access your Internet connection, and even install more spyware on your computer. Spyware hasn’t been around for a very long time; it has been around since about 2005. You can combat spyware with a number of different programs. Some programs detect what you have already been infected with; others block spyware attempting to access your computer. Both kinds software have their limitations, but they are pretty decent. The one thing you want to be very cautious about is a fake anti-spyware program. If you’ve ever received a pop-up while surfing the web claiming you’ve been infected with spyware, then you’ve encountered the phony anti-spyware programs. These programs will not only NOT rid you of you spyware, but have the potential of adding even more spyware to your computer.
Shop around for your programs and try to get the type that best suits you. Also try to get the newest programs available. They will have more features and more ability to crush anything that stands in the way of your Internet safety.