Viruses are now something computer users have to constantly monitor. Instead of just a few major outbreaks each year, several nuisance viruses appear each week - so, update your virus software weekly.
The Microsoft Outlook e-mail clients appear to be popular targets of those creating the viruses, but don't think you are safe if you use another e-mail program . . . it's the unintentional downloading of the virus (disguised as a .doc (document) or even a picture (jpg or gif ) that causes your machine to be infected. Never, ever, open an attachment that has an EXE or PIF. extension
One cautionary rule of thumb: Don't open e-mail attachments unless you know the sender AND are expecting them. When in doubt, delete unexpected messages with attachments. You can always call the sender and have him or her e-mail the attachment again, if it proved to be legitimate.
AVIEN (The Anti-Virus Information Exchange Network) offers a subscription Early Warning System mailing list with the latest viral threats.
CERT Coordination Center is a federally funded research center that tracks harmful viruses and publishes alerts.
CYBERANGELS posts bulletins on current viruses, including specifics about what's in the e-mail message and the subject line.
If you use Windows, take the time to regularly check out the Windows updates for your system so you can install security fixes, as they're available.
The main companies that market virus protection software also offer detailed Web sites with viral outbreak information and FIXES! Visit Symantec's SARC: SECURITY RESPONSE or McAfee's Anti-Virus Emergency Response Team .
There is a ton of information on the Internet, however sometimes the info is BOGUS. Much like the "scare tactics" used by the news, it is very difficult to decipher fact from fiction. I recommend checking out the HOAXBUSTERS or SOPHOS to get the latest lowdown on Virus Hoaxes.
With the amount of downloadable information on the Internet, it's easy to fill up your valuable hard drive space and bog down your computer. Clearing out the clutter will make your computer run much more smoothly and save room for programs you'll use.
• Run Disk Cleanup. In the Start menu go to Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools. Choose Disk Cleanup, then the drive you'd like to clean. It will clean out temporary files and other clutter.
• Clear History. In Internet Explorer: Select Tools, then Internet Options. Under Temporary Internet Files click "Delete Files," and under History click "Clear History" to clear cached pages. You can also change the number of days to keep files in history. In Netscape Navigator: Select Edit, then Preferences. Under Navigator, click “Clear/Change History.” Under Advanced then Cache, click “Clear Cache.”
• Uninstall old programs. Under Start, then Settings, then Control Panel, choose Add/Remove Programs to delete those you don't use anymore.
• Run Scandisk under System Tools (see Disk Cleanup). This Windows program checks your hard drive for files that are incorrectly allocated and for any other errors that may occur on the drive.
• Run Disk Defragmenter. Go to System Tools, as above, then choose the defragmenting option to do some straightening up.
Once you've cleared the hard drive clutter, take preventive cleaning measures, such as emptying your recycle bin on a regular basis and cleaning out your mailbox.
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