I urge you to please, please keep your computer system clean. Get educated on Virus, Trojans, Spyware, Zombies, and the like…
First of all, viruses… or Viri…
Get a virus scanning software package and install it. Keep it up to date. Norton Antivirus and Mcafee Antivirus are two contenders, but there are alternatives, TrendMicro offers one. F-Prot and Grisoft also offer virus scanning programs.
Running without Virus scanning is really dangerous…
Couple rules about avoiding virus infections:
1. Don’t Open Attachments!
2. Don’t Download programs that claim to be free or hacked versions of commercial software
3. Use alternative browsers and email clients like Mozilla’s Firefox and Thunderbird
4. Get a firewall and/or a Router.
There are several software firewalls that can limit access to and from your computer. I recommend Zone Labs Zone Alarm but Norton offers one, and there is a basic one built into Windows XP.
Also, if you have a broadband, highspeed, always on connection, get a hardware firewall/router like the ones Linksys offers.
As for spyware, there are several free tools to remove spyware… First of all, head to SpywareInfo.com for the latest information on Spyware and use there online spyware removal tool to remove any spyware. Other spyware removal tools are Spybot Search and Destroy and Ad-aware.
Finally, if you suspect you are infected with a virus, you can do an online virus scan at Antivirus.com. This will try to remove any infected files. Also, keep your operating system up to date with the patches and security fixes they offer. Use autoupdate or visit the update site often.
If you do get infected, don’t panic, pull the ethernet cable, and seach out support. Always backup your data and change your passwords often. Be safe!