October is National Cyber Security Month. The best way to avoid viruses is to keep your software up to date. Regularly check for updates and run your anti-virus software. Changing your password often can prevent hackers from gaining access to your personal information. Firewalls protect your computer from infection by blocking malicious traffic. Spyware can be a common source for viruses; by enabling anti-spyware you can minimize the number of infections.
How do you know if you've been "bugged"?
Unfortunately, there is no particular way to identify that your computer has been infected with malicious code. Some infections may completely destroy files and shut down your computer, while others may only subtly affect your computer's normal operations. Be aware of any unusual or unexpected behaviors. If you are running anti-virus software, it may alert you that it has found malicious code on your computer. The anti-virus software may be able to clean the malicious code automatically, but if it can't, you will need to take additional steps.
Beware of Worms and Viruses!
- Use and maintain anti-virus software
- Change your passwords - This includes passwords for web sites that may have been cached in your browser.
- Keep software up to date, particularly your anti-virus, operating system, web browser, Flash Player, Java, etc. - Many websites aim to take advantage of vulnerabilities in these software products.
- Install or enable a firewall - Firewalls may be able to prevent some types of infection by blocking malicious traffic before it can enter your computer. Some operating systems actually include a firewall, but you need to make sure it is enabled.
- Use anti-spyware tools - Spyware is a common source of viruses, but you can minimize the number of infections by using a legitimate program that identifies and removes spyware.
Content produced in part by US-CERT, http://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/