If you’re a computer user from the late 1980s, virus infections wouldn’t have been a significant concern for you. But, by the mid-1990s virus infections had become common place and this trend has worsened with the advent of always on broadband internet.

Why is that a problem? To put it simply, viruses arrive on your computer to not put idle but to do a job of their own. This is known as the virus ‘payload’. In nearly every instance, this payload is going to have some type of negative effect on you, the computer user. Normal payloads include: to create the infected PC send out a spam email to others, to damage the host computer which makes it unreliable/unusable, to gather the information that could be used for identity fraud or to frighten users into purchasing fake antivirus applications.

The most important thing is that virus infections should be kept from your PC in the first location. Prevention is far easier than virus removal, so where should you begin? The following are some valuable virus prevention measures which you can take today.

If you have not already got some antivirus software, remedy this immediately. Bear in mind that not all antivirus software is equal. In actuality, some perform very badly. What is the best antivirus program? Well, before purchasing, do some research, read some testimonials & ask questions. Group testimonials will always be more useful than someone giving their personal opinion of one product. In my experience, antivirus software alone is far better than bundled goods in the likes of Norton & McAfee which includes antivirus, antispyware & firewall components all in one.

These additional features are typically not all that well-executed, and their firewalls particularly cause no end of headaches for end-users. It’s far better to obtain the best antivirus software which you can and then search for the best antispyware program individually. If you’re using Windows XP or Vista, it has its own firewall which performs admirably.

Now your antivirus is set up, the next priority is to upgrade Windows. Computer hackers are constantly searching for ways to attack networks and computers with viruses and other malicious applications. When they succeed, computer users lose a whole lot of money & time. Regardless of their high price and the frustrations they cause, many security breaches may be avoidable. Microsoft actively works round the clock, searching for security vulnerabilities in Microsoft applications and offers security updates to correct them. Hence the security fixes are available, but users do not get them installed fast enough. Thus, you must go into your Control Panel & turn on Automatic Updates immediately.

Be certain to pick a realistic time to your PC to check for upgrades (The default time of 3 am won’t work since most people will have their machine turned off). An excess advantage of activating Automatic Updates is that Microsoft provides other software updates which make your computer run better and provide you a better Windows experience. By way of instance, an update may resolve a problem with a hardware device, enhance the functioning of your computer, or deliver enhanced Windows features.

Consider buying some antivirus applications. The best antivirus software won’t ever be perfect. Why not give them a helping hand by installing a capable partner to assist with the fight against malware? It makes great sense to decrease the load and disperse the security burden. As was the situation with your antivirus software, do not purchase the first software you see. Some are horrible, some are only OK and a few are excellent. Do your research.

Finally, learn a little about safe surfing and be smart about where you see and what you click on. You will probably already know some fundamentals. Don’t open email attachment from somebody you do not know, do not interact with pop-ups warning you about security issues (they’re usually scams), do not visit porn or warez websites, since they’re breeding grounds for malware infectors, do not click on links which are displayed as a numerical IP number rather than as a domain name & download software only from reputable sites. However there are a lot more new techniques to learn, so be attentive to new items and read up about the topic every couple of months. Google is your friend to study!

Follow these suggestions and you’ll be a less regular caller at your neighborhood computer repair store.