1. Home

Free Virus Protection

Safe computing at no cost

By

Along with the increasing interconnectedness of our computers, the sophistication of the software we use and the speed of the hardware comes increasing threats from a malicious type of software -- the virus. There is no question that everyone needs to protect their computers from viruses, but can it be done without spending lots of money to buy anti-virus software and spending even more money in yearly subscription fees to keep the software up-to-date? In a word, yes!

There are a number of things you can do for free to keep your computer safe from viruses. You can check out the best free antivirus software, but first a few tips on safe computing that you should follow even with good automated anti-virus protection.
  • Stay Up-to-date: This not only applies to your anti-virus software, but also your operating system, browser and email client. Most viruses take advantage of known security problems in your computer’s software. There is almost always a patch available for the software before viruses appear on the scene that take advantage of the vulnerabilities. If you use Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office, Windows Update and Office Update respectively provide an easy way to keep up-to-date with security patches.

  • Use Common Sense: This may sound harsh, but most virus infections wouldn’t happen if the computer user would think about what they are doing and use a little common sense. If you get a strange looking email message delete it instead of opening it to satisfy your curiosity. If a message, even a normal looking one, has an attachment you were not expecting to receive, don’t click on it to see what it is. Much of the secret to safe computing is smart computing.

  • Avoid Dangerous Neighborhoods: Just like in the real world, if you go looking for trouble in cyberspace, you are bound to find it. Don’t visit questionable sites like those with pirated software (warez sites), hacker sites, or sites that promise you software keys and other ways to break the law.

  • Don’t Follow the Crowd: Almost all viruses use flaws or features of Microsoft products. Using alternative software, especially Web browsers and email programs will thwart most viruses. Mozilla is good choice for both Web browser and email client. Using a non-Microsoft operating system such as Linux can also be a good choice for some. These measures won't prevent all viruses but they will greatly improve your chances of not becoming infected with the most prevalent viruses.

Even with the safeguards above, it is still a good idea for most people to use good anti-virus software. Believe it or not you can get top of the line antivirus software free for personal use. Check out these best free antivirus recommendations to get your free antivirus protection.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.