Just What is a Computer Virus?

Just What is a Computer Virus?

It is like catching the cold virus, it is spread by other people through bacteria, reproducing until the system is infected and sick. It is one of the most common computer repair issues that are out there. No one wants a virus, it does not feel good, and they restrict your activity as well as keep people at a distance from you. The computer virus acts much like the biological virus in that it has the same effects, only it infects files and spreads electronically. In this article I will define the virus, explain how it spreads, and how to tell the difference between a virus and other forms of attacks.

The basic definition of a virus is a series of written instructions in a computer program that is designed to reproduce and infect another computer. It is programming code that’s purpose is to destroy another program. Most of the time a user will not?realize?that they have a virus because they can take the form of a regular program, or hide deep in your system files?unbeknownst?to anyone it is there.

Anti-virus programs have been fighting a never-ending battle with hackers, people who want to rip off and spread chaos throughout people’s computers. How do they spread? A real computer virus can only be spread by a human who inserts it into the target computer himself via floppy or disc, or even sending it over the internet.

The first “wild” virus, that is, a virus that appeared out of the computer lab back in the 70’s, actually attacked the Apple DOS system. Back then, the only way to really create a virus and have it spread was through hands-on work like inserting a floppy disk into a computer.

Viruses spread when they are attached to the .exe or executable file. Say you want to open a program that has been on your computer for a while, you trust it to work properly and it does. But a hacker hooks a virus to the .exe file that the next time you open the program the virus takes effect, damaging the files and ruining the program.

That is the main idea of a computer virus, to attach to a file (cell) and jumping to other files like it, until the computer is no longer usable. At Computer Geeks calls come in about viruses?or recovering a computer from an attack. So what can you do about it to prevent your computer even further than the anti-virus protection is.

When in doubt, and when your computer is definitely infected, choose the System Restore that was explained earlier in the November blogs. This will turn back the clock to a time when ?your computer was not infected. But hackers are getting smarter, making their viruses disable the Control Panel, or messing with the System Restore so that the computer gets restored to the same day the virus started.

The difference between the virus and other programs like adware, spyware, and malware, is that the virus spreads and reproduces. It is a catch-all phrase for all the bad stuff that happens on a computer. When something starts to go wrong, people think virus because it makes sense. But knowing exactly what is wrong with your computer can allow whoever you ask to fix it to do it faster and perhaps recover the files. And if you need help you can always call us at Computer Geeks

 

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7 New Years Resolutions to make for your PC

7 New Years Resolutions to make for your PC

New Years Resolutions are everywhere this time of year. Everyone else makes them, but when it comes down to actually doing it, people rarely follow through. Those of us that frequent our local gym, will have it inundated with people for the first month, maybe two,? and then like magic, everyone is gone. So why don’t people just make New Years Resolutions that they can stick to? Things that are easy, and that don’t take a ton of your valuable time. Well, here at Computer Geeks we have compiled a list of New Years Resolutions for all of you to help your PC thrive in 2015! And if your computer and everything on it is fast and safe, then it will save you time, and potentially a lot of money. Without further ado, here is the list

 

7. Viruses, spyware, malware, adware protection

anti-spyware new years resolution

Listen, most people have anti-virus software because it comes with virtually every computer out there. But do you have Anti-Malware on your PC? How about Anti-spyware? Probably not. Computer Geeks has several solutions to this problem that we can put on your computer, and the best part is that the software is free!

6. Maintenance Checkups

pc cleanup new years resolution

I know, I know, nobody likes to schedule to fix their computer. But checkups are important. So many people who call me up with a dead computer that they haven’t had serviced in 5 years. What if you didn’t take your child to get a check up for 5 years? Sounds outrageous right? Same thing with your computer. That could be all of your family memories on that computer, or your entire business database, gone because you didn’t see a problem coming. A computer should get a thorough cleaning and tune up every 3 months to keep performance optimal. Simple checkups can increase the average computer life span by up to 4 years. Computer Geeks can set you up on scheduled maintenance calls for the entire year, all at once! And you can always reschedule at no cost if something comes up!

5. Use Better Passwords on your computer

password new years resolution

I’m sure your dog is cute, and is a great companion, but he’s a BAD password. Most hackers who get into your computer can find personal information, like your pets name. And when they go to steal your email address, or your bank account info, you might as well have not even set a password. You want there to be 3 variables to your password, a capital letter, lowercase letter, and numbers, but please don’t just do R4m35eS, they’ll try that too. Combine two things to make your password unguessable, like your dog and your birth year backwards. My birth year is 1982 so my password could be this: S2e8se9ma1R, now that’s a password! (FYI that’s not my password)

4. Archive your old emails

Warehouse

For you outlook users, your inbox/outbox for your email can look like the warehouse from Indiana Jones. Filled with so many items that you’ll never find anything. Outlook has an auto-archive function that will archive anything that is older than a certain amount of time, that you can dictate. Set it once, and then forget about it! The best part is that if you need to view the archive emails, they will still show up when you use the Outlook Search feature.

3. Watch what you post on social media

social media new years resolution

Listen, we’ve all done it, had a bad day at work and then go home and blow up Facebook about how much your boss’ management style reflects that of Adolf Hitler. The problem is, when you go to leave Hitler’s company, your new potential employer is more than likely going to find you on Facebook before he hires you, so he can see what he may be getting himself into. Be careful what you post online, there is no escaping something once its on there…

2. Be careful where you surf on the web

web-surfing

Seriously, this should be self explanatory. Don’t go to a site that you don’ t know what it is. And if you do go to a bad site and pop-ups and people saying you have viruses comes up, CALL GEEK CHOICE FAST!? Once a virus is on a computer the longer it sits there the more damage it can do. Turn the PC off, and give us a call 800-433-5435.

1. BACKUP ALL YOUR FILES

This last one is so simple, so important, but almost always not done. People think backups take up a lot of their time, or that they are expensive. But Computer Geeks is here to tell you they are neither, they are just lifesavers. 10 times a week some poor soul wanders into my office telling me their hard drive is dead, and they’re whole life was on it. I ask if they have a backup, and they give me the frowney face. Backups are really cheap, and for the most part can be set up 1 time, to perform backup either daily, weekly, monthly or ever quarterly. And you can set the backup to occur at 3AM while you sleep, so you never have to deal with it! Computer Geeks can get you on a yearly backup plan for UNLIMITED DATA at only 59.95! Just give us a buzz and Computer Geeks can help

 

We hope you have enjoyed our New Years resolution blog, feel free to follow us on Twitter @geekchoice, and like us on Facebook Here to get all of our daily blogs to keep you updated with everything technology from cell phones, gaming systems, to computer tips and hints!

Paid or Unpaid? The Difference in Anti-Virus

For all you frugal frogs out there feeling jumpy about paying for that “extra protection” on your Anti-Virus program, here is some information that might help with that decision.

Personally I run two programs on my laptop, AVG and Avast, both on the free plan. That means on the “upgrade” screen that always keeps popping up to remind me to buy the “good” version, mine is the one with only one check next to it while the “good” version is the one with ALL the checks.

If you are unsure about whether to pay that $50 clams for the “good” version, there is a good reason to hesitate. AVG, or Anti Virus Guard, used to be free with all the protection available. Then it was bought out and was offered at a price, but what happened to the protection? You might have noticed the pop-up feature, and it pops up once per day for one month each year, all this is designed to make you buy the better version.

The free antivirus kit has less protection now, it has an outdated search tool for rootkits, which is malware that enables continuous access to a computer. Apparently the older free version 7.5 can search and root-out rootkits, but the newer version ?lacks any ability to do anything like protect your computer from such a threat, which is a dangerous one.

Are you thinking what I am thinking? If this trend of taking off protection on the free versions continues, then that so called anti-virus will no longer be free, it will cost you a crashed PC!

The recommended version of AVG includes online and identity protection, anti-spam, and enhanced firewall, along with the basic free version features of High Speed Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware with auto updates and LinkScanner for safe searching.

In a test run by PC World who were also concerned with this question, the results came in with AVG at number 3, Avast at number 2, and Avira AntiVir Personal came in at number 1 for detection, disinfection, and speed. The test was run through a program AV-Test based in Germany, and these three along with Microsoft Security Essentials, who came right behind AVG in the rankings, PC Tools, Comodo, Panda Cloud, and ClamWin.

That old adage comes back with “nothing is free”. If you want the best protection from those viruses, spam, and malicious software that is constantly attacking people’s computers, then you better whip out the dollars and pay up. It is unfortunate that there is no?altruistic?company out there offering it’s security for free, like Microsoft Security Essentials is boasting, but that is reality. I just checked my AVG’s status, and it told me LinkScanner and other “paid for” features are running smoothly. Interesting, very interesting how they offer this for a price yet it tells me I can use it for free.

The decision is yours, the information that Anti-Virus programs gives you is very confusing, so consulting with others is strongly recommended to get a good opinion on the right program.

Microsoft Security and How Essential It Is

If you are new to the Computer Geeks Blogs, then you are in for an awakening, as this blog is where you can come for the TRUTH. We are hit with information as soon as we wake up and it lasts all day until we go unconscious. This can lead to health problems, as well as bad habits, so at this blog we try to alleviate the symptoms by cutting out all the B.S. and getting down to the facts.

The fact is that leaving your PC unprotected, or relying on some third rate anti-virus program, is not just unsafe it is down right ignorant. Microsoft has released a security tool for everyone to use, oh boy! Is it what you need during these times of dangerous, unsecured websites, drive-by attacks by hackers, and malicious downloads that you don’t even know is happening?

Microsoft Security Essentials, the new free anti-virus software that replaces Windows Live OneCare which costs money and only protected against adware and spyware, is available for all. It will protect you from not just these two attacks, but also from rootkits, malware, viruses, and Trojans. It goes back to Windows xp, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. But there is some drawbacks here that are significant enough to complain about.

The first is that you need a computer that has a valid license to run Windows. This leaves a whole slew of companies with their computers unaccepted thus unprotected. By throwing this software into as many computers as they can, which is Microsoft’s aim, to give freely of what they found to be a “super” deal. Do not be too sure.

Think if this anti-virus program made up the majority of protection for millions of people with computers. Green light for hackers, red light for you. By trying to be altruistic Microsoft seems to have mixed motives. Maybe if this software was perfect in every way and made life worry free, then we wouldn’t have to explain the truth to you: Microsoft is looking out for themselves, the selfish company.

It is interesting how all these anti-virus competitor companies such as McAfee, Symantec, and Norton dismiss Microsoft Security Essentials as being insignificant compared to their programs. Yet their shares have fallen drastically since the release of MSE in July of 2009 when they released the beta. Who is right? Who is wrong? It seems the war against viruses has turned inward and now a battle for supremacy over who is the most protecting has taken over. What about us?

If you are looking for the right anti-virus program, I urge you to test each one out. Try Microsoft Security Essentials, see how it fits with your system. Do not take the word of any blog, article, or anyone who tells you that their software is the best. The world we live in is hostile, so take the right actions to prevent your personal and business life from being invaded.

These anti-virus programs all work. It is just a matter of scanning for the truth and quarantining the lies.

Staying Safe This Holiday Season

Yes, you have started to hear no doubt about the holidays and all it’s wonderful magic. No doubt you have also heard about being safe, usually in reference to too much drinking at those awkwardly awful family parties and the weather. But at Computer Geeks we want to key you in on more important matters: your computer safety.

How safe is your computer? If you use the internet you take the risk of catching a virus, like the cold it can be prevented if you take certain steps. No I am not talking about downloading the latest anti-virus software or the cool new tool that can fly around your computer like superman saving your files from the evil file corrupter.

I am talking about what is already on your computer, like your web browser whether that be Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome, that have the tools you need to protect yourself. You can find these tools in the ‘Tools’ menu bar located at the top of your browser. Look at ‘options’ on Firefox or ‘security zones’ on Internet Explorer. By telling your browser exactly what type of sites it is allowed to visit and the level of restriction, you are ensuring that you will be protected from spyware, unwanted advertisements, and those “drive-by” downloads.

You may have heard recently that there was a big “drive-by” attack that hackers did on IE6. What happened was that hackers were able to get into a certain website and make links using the sites name to another website, which people visited, and got screwed because just by being on the site malicious software and viruses were downloaded to people’s computers.They are still doing it on IE8, so be careful.

That is just one example of how easy it is for hackers to get into your system, simply by taking over a website and waiting for a user to walk aimlessly into the site, unaware that they will be regretting not listening to this blog and taking the necessary steps to prevent such a thing!

One of these steps involves securing your email, particularly in Outlook. A common pitfall that is easily overlooked is the text. You have two choices: HTML-Text, or Plain Text, which is better? It is not a question of better, but safer. HTML might look good, but in the long run it is dangerous because this is where all those phishing scams thrive on. By using Plain Text it disables the Active Content that opens email attachments automatically, and allows safer emailing.

Instant Messaging worms have become more and more vicious and prevalent in today’s internet world. Be careful when talking with your friends online, be wary of ‘Away’ messages, because if you are chatting with someone who sent you a malicious worm or virus masquerading as a link somewhere infected you could be in for a bad time. You can usually tell when a message like in email that is suspicious.

Hackers are always looking for new ways to get into your computer and screw things up. Do not allow them to, especially during the holidays when you should be out gallivanting around with your family enjoying the holiday spirit.

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