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Tips for safe surfing

Since introducing my $75 flat rate virus removal, I have been getting a major influx of systems in because they are infected with viruses. Since my goal is to help relieve computer frustrations, I wanted to share some tips to combat what I saw as the most popular causes.
  1. Treat software updates like recall notices

    I have noticed that most of the systems I have serviced had most of the software out of date. When I asked a user, why don't you update your software when it prompts you to, I got an interesting response. "I didn't think it needed it, because it was working fine".
    Often times, software updates do very little to enhance the user interface (what you see), and mostly improve the backend (the part you don't see). These updates can close up security holes, and ways that viruses get in.
  2. Run as a limited user

    Often times we want to do things the easiest way. Some people take that as running as an Administrator, since on the rare occasion you need to install a piece of software, or do some other operation that requires Administrator rights.
    In Vista and 7, a dialog pops up asking for your permission to continue. It asks for your permission because the software you are about to run wants to change important settings on your machine. Before clicking the "Continue" button, stop and ask yourself:

    • Do I trust the program/publisher that caused this warning to pop up?
    • Did I click on an ad to launch this?
    • Was this requested by free software?

    While a lot of programs that cause this message to pop up do not cause any harm, granting these permissions is required to do serious harm to your machine.

  3. Stop using the Anti-Virus that came with your computer

    Seriously, they suck. McAffee has one of the worst track records of all anti-virus companies. Norton is marginally better. They get in bidding wars to earn the coveted free trial on your PC, when you buy it from Dell, HP, Gateway, Sony, etc..

    Think I am pulling your leg here? On the same exact machine, I ran a Paid version of McAffee, SAS Tech edition, and Microsoft Security Essentials. McAffee detected 0 threats, SAS a total of 905, and Microsoft's detected 911. I took a picture with McAffee and SAS side by side while they were scanning to show people.

  4. Don't trust ads

    The ads that say your computer is infected, and offer a free scan often download software that infects your computer. It will then ask you to pay to fix the problems it just caused, and then will install even more crap on your computer, repeating the cycle.

Published Monday, March 12, 2012 by

Filed under TechTips, PCRepair,


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