Top 10 Myths About Computer Viruses

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virus infected pcOne of the most frustrating situations a computer owner faces is finding out your system is infected with a computer virus. One of the best ways to avoid getting a computer virus is to install a good antivirus program on your computer and it’s important to update your antivirus frequently to prevent new infections.

Another way to avoid a computer virus is to understand how you acquire them in the first place. Many people have the wrong idea about how a computer becomes infected with a virus, so here we explore the top 10 myths about computer viruses.

1. Websites Such As Porn Sites Are The Most Likely Places To Contract A Virus – Many people feel that those who visit porn sites are at a higher risk of contracting a computer virus. However, this is not true. The fact is that most of these websites have plenty of financial resources to be able to afford the best security measures. You are more likely to get a virus from a personal website, a non-profit site, or even a church website than from a porn site.

2. Not Installing An Antivirus Will Prevent A Virus – A somewhat backwards type of logic, some feel that if they never install an antivirus they will never contract one. They tend to get this idea because they feel that they’ve lucked out so far by not having a virus. Chances are, they already do have a virus if they ever go online. Many viruses operate in the background, quietly stealing your valuable information or damaging your personal files, all while going undetected.

[Read also: The Essentials of Antivirus Protection]

3. Error Messages Automatically Mean You Have A Virus – Just because you are receiving error messages, it does not necessarily mean that you have a virus. Many different reasons besides viruses can cause error messages. Sometimes an antivirus program itself may be the culprit behind the error messages. If you are unable to resolve the problem yourself, it’s best to have your computer checked out by an IT professional.

4. Mac Users Cannot Get Viruses – This is completely untrue. Mac users can and do get computer viruses, although perhaps not as frequently as PC users. Many a Mac has become infected with Malware and Macs are no longer considered to be “virus-proof”.

[Suggested reading: Can My Phone Get a Virus?]

5. Antivirus Is Fool-Proof – By simply having an antivirus program installed on your computer, you are not completely safe. Viruses change all of the time, so you have to keep the program updated. Install the best antivirus software you can find, and update regularly to avoid issues.

6. That Little Antivirus Pop Up Box You Just Clicked On Removed The Virus – If you’re surfing the web and encounter an unfamiliar looking little pop up that claims your computer has been infected with a virus and instructs you to click on it to remove the virus, don’t do it! This is known as the “antivirus virus” and it infects your computer when you click on it.

7. Email Viruses Can Only Infect Your Computer If You Open An Attachment – Sometimes, even without opening an attachment, you can still contract a virus just by opening the email. Even emails without attachments can sometimes transmit viruses.

8. The Big Blue Screen Means You Have A Virus – Almost everyone has encountered the dreaded blue screen that informs us that our computer has crashed. Many people automatically jump to the conclusion that the computer is infected with a virus. In most cases, the blue screen is typically caused by faulty hardware or bad drivers.

9. Reinstalling Windows Will Restore Everything Back To Pre-Virus State – Some users assume that the re-installation of Windows will fix everything back to the way it was before the virus infection. Copying files from a back-up drive can actually cause the computer to become re-infected with the virus, so be sure to scan your documents and data to be sure they are virus free.

10. Firewalls Will Protect Your Computer From Viruses – While firewalls are important and should still be used, know that they will not protect your computer from spyware, trojans, or viruses. Enable the firewall, but don’t depend on it to protect you from viruses.

Conclusion

Do antivirus programs really work? Yes, they do. Choose a quality program that offers valuable features that work along with your personal computer habits is important. Practicing safe browsing habits is essential, and keep in mind that some infections may be unavoidable because new threats appear daily. Keeping the antivirus updated and running is the key to avoiding a virus.

[Image credit: dustywrath, Flickr]

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