Why Didn’t My Antivirus Protection Prevent This?

When Jeff* called our office last Thursday, I could hear the frustration in his voice. He had been browsing the Internet the night before when a pop-up appeared on his screen alerting his computer was infected with viruses.

The Live Security Platinum window warned that hundreds of infections had taken over his computer. It wanted him to enter his credit card number to purchase the software, which would remove the viruses and allow him to get back on the Internet.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t Jeff’s first exposure to this fake antivirus program. This was his third time this year with his computer becoming infected – twice within the last two months.

“Why didn’t my antivirus software prevent this from happening?” he asked. “Isn’t it supposed to keep viruses off my computer?”

The number of infected computers brought into our shop has spiked over the last two weeks. Almost every client has asked me the same question: “Why didn’t my virus protection software work?”

It’s a legitimate question. Whether it’s a free or paid antivirus software program, you expect that it will do what it’s supposed to do – keep viruses off your computer.

The truth is, keeping your computer virus-free is not as simple as installing an antivirus software program and that’s it. Virus writers have written much more sophisticated infections that require a multi-layered approach to protecting your computer. This article will help clear up some common misconceptions many computer users have regarding virus protection and prevention.

First, not all antivirus software programs provide adequate protection. Paid antivirus software is generally a better choice than the free ones. They provide more frequent virus definition updates, better technical support options, advanced scanning capabilities, and no advertisements. This translates into much more effective protection for your computer.

But even among purchased antivirus programs, big differences exist in how well they protect your system. Our recommended antivirus software, based upon our experience and testing, is our Managed VIPRE Antivirus.

A word of caution: you do NOT want to install more than one antivirus software program on your computer. Doing so will cause a number of problems because they will be “fighting” with each other.

Second, protecting your computer requires more than just installing an antivirus program. Hackers and malware writers create new ways of infecting computers almost every day. Viruses are becoming more and more complex and can evade the detection of even the best antivirus software.

Web site filtering services provide an added layer of protection to steer you away from virus-infected and fraudulent websites. For parents, web site filtering also offers parental control options to keep children away from adult and other non-appropriate web sites.

Third, invest in a good router, even if you have only one computer. A router provides a hardware firewall that keeps your computer from being directly exposed to the Internet. This helps prevent hackers from breaking into your computer.

Finally, use common sense and caution when on the Internet. Many virus infections can be prevented simply by being careful. Abide by this simple rule:  When in doubt, don’t!

Here are a few basic rules to remember:

  • Don’t open emails from strangers.
  • Don’t open email attachments, even from people you know, unless you are expecting them to send you a file. (When in doubt, don’t!)
  • Don’t click links in emails. Type the addresses directly into your web browser to access a web page.
  • Never send personal information, such as password, bank account or credit card numbers, to anyone by email.
  • Avoid websites that appear to be suspicious.
  • Keep your computer system patched with the latest Windows updates and updates for Adobe products and Java.
  • Use a safer web browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
  • Carefully read any pop-ups that appear on your screen. Do NOT click on any links that ask you to install unfamiliar software programs.

There will always be the risk of your computer becoming infected with a virus when you are connected to the Internet. Because the threats are constantly changing, there is no way to protect your computer 100%.

The flu shot doesn’t guarantee you won’t get the flu; it just helps minimize the risk. Implementing the steps outlined above will help reduce your risk of computer virus infections, not guarantee no infections.

*Not his real name

When Jeff* called our office last Thursday, I could hear the frustration in his voice. He had been browsing the Internet the night before when a pop-up appeared on his screen alerting his computer was infected with viruses.

 

The Live Security Platinum window warned that hundreds of infections had taken over his computer. It wanted him to enter his credit card number to purchase the software, which would remove the viruses and allow him to get back on the Internet.

 

Unfortunately, this wasn’t Jeff’s first exposure to this fake antivirus program. This was his third time this year with his computer becoming infected – twice within the last two months.

 

“Why didn’t my antivirus software prevent this from happening?” he asked. “Isn’t it supposed to keep viruses off my computer?”

 

The number of infected computers brought into our shop has spiked over the last two weeks. Almost every client has asked me the same question: “Why didn’t my virus protection software work?”

 

It’s a legitimate question. Whether it’s a free or paid antivirus software program, you expect that it will do what it’s supposed to do – keep viruses off your computer.

 

The truth is, keeping your computer virus-free is not as simple as installing an antivirus software program and that’s it. Virus writers have written much more sophisticated infections that require a multi-layered approach to protecting your computer. This article will help clear up some common misconceptions many computer users have regarding virus protection and prevention.

 

First, not all antivirus software programs provide adequate protection. Paid antivirus software is generally a better choice than the free ones. They provide more frequent virus definition updates, better technical support options, advanced scanning capabilities, and no advertisements. This translates into much more effective protection for your computer.

 

But even among purchased antivirus programs, big differences exist in how well they protect your system. Our recommended antivirus software, based upon our experience and testing, is our Managed VIPRE Antivirus.

 

A word of caution: you do NOT want to install more than one antivirus software program on your computer. Doing so will cause a number of problems because they will be “fighting” with each other.

Second, protecting your computer requires more than just installing an antivirus program. Hackers and malware writers create new ways of infecting computers almost every day. Viruses are becoming more and more complex and can evade the detection of even the best antivirus software.

 

Web site filtering services provide an added layer of protection to steer you away from virus-infected and fraudulent websites. For parents, web site filtering also offers parental control options to keep children away from adult and other non-appropriate web sites.

 

Third, invest in a good router, even if you have only one computer. A router provides a hardware firewall that keeps your computer from being directly exposed to the Internet. This helps prevent hackers from breaking into your computer.

 

Finally, use common sense and caution when on the Internet. Many virus infections can be prevented simply by being careful. Abide by this simple rule:  When in doubt, don’t!

 

Here are a few basic rules to remember:

·         Don’t open emails from strangers.

·         Don’t open email attachments, even from people you know, unless you are expecting them to send you a file. (When in doubt, don’t!)

·         Don’t click links in emails. Type the addresses directly into your web browser to access a web page.

·         Never send personal information, such as password, bank account or credit card numbers, to anyone by email.

·         Avoid websites that appear to be suspicious.

·         Keep your computer system patched with the latest Windows updates and updates for Adobe products and Java.

·         Use a safer web browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

·         Carefully read any pop-ups that appear on your screen. Do NOT click on any links that ask you to install unfamiliar software programs.

 

There will always be the risk of your computer becoming infected with a virus when you are connected to the Internet. Because the threats are constantly changing, there is no way to protect your computer 100%.

 

The flu shot doesn’t guarantee you won’t get the flu; it just helps minimize the risk. Implementing the steps outlined above will help reduce your risk of computer virus infections, not guarantee no infections.

 

*Not his real name

Scott Hartley, President/CEO

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