Essential Security for Computers

In 2010, no fewer than 24 people approached a certain technology enthusiast asking for help in fixing misbehaving computers. Each computer was infected with malware — malicious software.

People can run software removal tools designed to repair infected computers. The problem, however, is that not every piece of malware works the same way and it's hard to be sure if the removal tool got rid of all the badness. In many cases, the best solution is to back up important data, erase the computer, and then reinstall the operating system — from DVD, rather than from an internal drive, if possible — and any additional applications. This is a time-consuming process, but it's reliable.

Many people use anti-virus and anti-spyware programs to help prevent bad software from getting on their computers in the first place. There is a long list of antivirus software from which to choose. Some programs are free, some not.

If you use Windows and do not have up-to-date antivirus software running on your computer, consider using Microsoft’s Security Essentials; it’s free and it comes from Microsoft.

If you use an Apple computer, consider running an antivirus software program. Apple computers have, in recent years, faced fewer threats from malicious software, but the number is on the rise as Apple gains popularity. The time is right to explore Mac-based security software. Check out Sophos. It provides free antivirus for Mac.

It's interesting to note that of the previously-mentioned 24 computers, all ran Windows, yet only half ran security software — expired security software. Does your computer have the essential security it needs to stay safe on the Internet?