Securing your Computer
Having an antivirus program installed is no longer sufficient protection. It is vital to protect your private banking information and other personal or sensitive data or emails on your computer.
All home and business computers need 3 basic levels of security. We like to call these "The Big Three"
3. Firewall (most important)
These are 3 very different types of program which do a different job in protecting your computer.
Sometimes they come bundled together in a software suite, eg. AVG. Good firewall software will ensure system security at all levels. There are some very good free firewalls available, eg. Comodo Firewall (download free firewall).
If a computer has already been compromised, it's no good installing protection software after the fact. The hacker software will allow the installation of this software but may hijack it to report that that your computer is safe, when in fact this is not the case (trojans can do this).
The malicious software first needs to be eradicated before protection software can be reliably installed. Panda has an online scan facility which is free to use and highly recommended - http://www.pandasecurity.com/homeusers/solutions/activescan/
NB: Make sure that your version of Windows is licenced correctly and that all the latest Windows Updates have been applied. Do not make use of pirate software and avoid sites offering free downloads of MP3 or video - you could unintentionally download malicious software.
If a computer is connected to the internet and the firewall was down for any length of time, then it is highly likely that the computer has been compromised and sensitive or private data on that machine is available to the hacker. Please do not take a chance on this. A PC technician is best qualified to complete a thorough check of your system and to ensure that adequate protection is in place.
If your computer is networked with other computers in your office, the virus may have jumped to infect the others, so it is worth checking all systems. If one computer starts behaving strangely (eg. if you see the mouse pointer moving about on its own or if you see screens opening up that you did not click on, or sever slowdowns, or lots of emails bouncing back) then unplug the network cable immediately and call a PC support technician.
In most cases though you won't have any warning and the only way is to perform a full system scan. Once your system is secure, it is easy to maintain it with regular scans which you can do yourself or set your machine to do automatically.
Click here for links to free anti-spyware and anti-virus programs, here for free firewall