Keeping your Anti-virus definitions up to date

Having virus protection is extremely important, however, having updated virus protection is even more important. Here are a few things you should check to be sure your computer is protected.
1) Make sure you renew your anti-virus subscription each year with your anti-virus vendor. Most anti-virus products include one year of software updates for free. These updates help keep your anti-virus software up to date with the latest threats. If you allow your subscription expire you will not longer receive updates. Your anti-virus software will alert you when your subscription is about to expire. You MUST renew your subscription to obtain the latest software updates and protect your computer from new threats.
2) Update your virus definitions. Thousands of new viruses are created and released each day. Your anti-virus software should be configured to update your anti-virus software with the latest virus information. Not sure if your software is up to date? Check your anti-virus software vendor’s website for information on how to check to ensure your software is up-to-date.
3) Look at your AV console regularly for important changes..
4) Perform a weekly virus scan. Anti-virus software may be configured to scan your computer weekly. Check your anti-virus software’s main console screen to ensure scans are scheduled weekly.
Keeping your anti-virus software up-to-date and performing virus scans weekly will help protect your computer from new threats. Not using anti-virus software? Protection Control Center software is free to EarthLink subscribers.

Protecting Your Computer from Malware

Computer viruses, worms, spyware and Trojan horses (aka Trojans) are all types of malicious software or malware.
Computer viruses can damage your computer or install software without your knowledge. Computer viruses are generally transmitted as email attachments or through USB flash drives. A computer virus might corrupt or delete data on your computer, use your e-mail program to spread itself to other computers, or even erase files on your hard drive.
Computer worms are designed to spread from computer to computer across a network usually without any human interaction. Worms exploit vulnerabilities (like weak passwords or software bugs) to gain access to a target computer.

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New Viruses Target Social Networking Sites, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace

The New Your Times recently published an article titled Viruses That Leave Victims Red in the Facebook. The article describes a new type of virus that targets Twitter and Facebook users. The virus hijacks a user’s social networking account and then transmits spam and viruses via emails to the victim’s Twitter or Facebook contacts. What makes these attacks so effective is that they originate from trusted sources.

As social networking viruses become more ubiquitous (Kaspersky Labs says that on some days, one in 500 links on Twitter point to bad sites that can infect an inadequately protected computer with typical viruses) it is important to be cautious. Do not click on suspicious links you receive from friends on social networking sites. If your social network account password is too simple, a fraudster can use techniques to take over the account (also known as hijacking) and send email messages to everyone in their friends list or address book. Follow these simple password security rules:

  • Don’t use a real word that can be looked up in a dictionary or a familiar pattern such as 12345.
  • Use a combination of letters numbers and special characters that can’t be connected back to any of your personal information.
  • Use upper and lower case letters and number combinations.
  • Password lengths should be 8 characters or greater.
  • Change passwords regularly.
  • Do not use the same password for all online accounts.

If you suspect a friend’s account has been compromised, do not access any suspect messages. Contact your friend directly and notifying them of the problem.