Viruses and malware infections are the number one risk and worry for PC users at the moment. Viruses can cause havoc with your PC and make it completely unusable, steal information from your computer and more embarrassingly spread the infection to other people you know. These five precautions can help you avoid falling victim:

1. Make sure that you have adequate Antivirus protection that is kept up to date and includes real-time protection. Many times I have arrived onsite to deal with an infected PC and people think they are protected with antivirus software – only to find that it hasn’t been updated for six months.

2. Avoid pirated software – you may think that it might be worthwhile getting a copy of some software, particularly if you aren’t going to use it very frequently, but pirated software often comes with viruses embedded. You could suffer far harsher consequences if your software abuse gets out, so it’s best to pay for an extra license and avoid both malware and lawsuits.

3. Use an up to date internet browser – don’t continue to use Internet Explorer 6 or 7 because they contain vulnerabilities that Microsoft will take a long time to fix and they could easily be exploited by hackers and virus creators.

4. Make sure Windows updates are installed – Windows updates often contain security updates which Microsoft release to patch up vulnerabilities found within Windows. These loop holes are often used by viruses to infect your system

5. Don’t click on unknown or suspicious links – Even if they are sent from somebody you know avoid clicking on unknown links; often friends or colleagues can get infected and be sending a virus on without realising.

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