Computer viruses are not a new topic. Just like humans, computers get infected with viruses, too. A computer virus is a small software program that is designed to spread from one computer to another to interfere with computer operation. There are many different types of viruses, and new ones are invented daily.

Viruses are everywhere on the Internet and can be found in anything, including emails, links, and programs. Viruses can even be disguised in commonly downloaded files like images, cards, audio, and video files. Microsoft recommends keeping your computer up to date with the latest updates and antivirus tools.

Malware is a type of computer virus that allows any unwanted software that is installed on your computer without your consent. Viruses, worms, and Trojan horses are examples of malware. Malware intends to disrupt computer operations.

One of the big examples that I see most often are rogue (fake) security software. This security software is designed to look like legitimate software. It normally pops up on your screen stating you have a virus.

Once you pay money, the software will fully install on your computer and get rid of the virus. This software is malware. Some of these common programs include Cleanup Antivirus, Dr. Guard, Antimalware Defender, and Advanced Defender.

Some Malware also acts as a new category of virus, ransomware. Ransomware is one of the newest virus trends. Ransomware is software that holds files hostage on your computer until you enter a credit card number to revert the damage. One notable piece of ransomware that has made headlines recently is Cryptolocker.

Spyware is another type of malicious software that performs certain behaviors. Generally, this is done without appropriately obtaining your consent first, like advertising, collecting personal information, and changing your computer’s configuration. Spyware is often associated with adware, which is software that displays advertisements.

Spyware is also associated with software that tracks personal or sensitive information. Oftentimes these programs can change the web browser’s home page or search page. It can add any component to your browser. Some examples of spyware include Cool Web Search and 180 Search Assistant. Spyware is often difficult to get rid of and change back any components the software affected.

Trust is your best friend when preventing viruses. There are many steps an individual can take to ensure they are safe and free from computer viruses. Start by making sure your computer is up to date with the latest Windows updates and security patches. Make sure all third-party programs like Java and Flash are constantly updated as well.

For greater peace of mind, install anti-virus software. My recommendation is Microsoft Security Essentials. Adjust your web browser settings to make it more secure.

One of the biggest steps to preventing viruses is practicing safe web surfing habits. There are lots of hidden tricks on the web for viruses to attack your computer. Downloading files can be one of the biggest mistakes made on the internet.

Make sure you trust the website you are downloading the file from. Look at the download. Make sure the download button is the right one.

Often, ads will fill some websites with fake download buttons. These buttons look just like the real one and can confuse. If you don’t trust the download button, choose another website.

If you receive a virus, your best bet is to call a professional. I would recommend starting by installing either Malwarebytes Antimalware or Super Anti-Spyware and running a scan. Whenever you run a virus scan, make sure you update the definitions before!