Viruses, spyware, key stroke loggers, phishing scripts, and an assortment of other malicious files and programs could be hanging out in the inner recesses of your computer. It is very easy to let harmful data onto your computer’s hard drive. But don’t let that scare you. It is also very easy to protect your computer from such threats.

If you are like most people, you probably have personal information stored on your computer. Since you are reading this article, it likely that you also access the Internet with that computer. If so, it is vitally important that you consider the benefits of a software package that will protect your computer from attacks. Most people lock the doors and windows of their homes, lock their cars, and watch their children carefully. Yet many of those same people will leave bank account numbers, personal information, and all sorts of other information vulnerable and exposed through holes in the defense systems on their personal computers.

Your personal life exposed to the world…

An attack on your computer can be just as crushing emotionally and financially as a thief breaking into your home. Some of the things that the intruder could have access to are:

    • Secrets you may have shared in confidence with online friends.
    • Passwords for financial and banking accounts.
    • They could learn your shopping habits.
    • They can find out the school your children attend.
    • Medical information could be divulged.

Spyware invades, then exploits infected computers, usually via unsolicited and unwanted pop-up ads; by monitoring the computer owner’s online activities; or by stealing very personal information such as credit card numbers and bank account information. In fact, identity-thieves have stolen billions of dollars worth of account information in America alone.

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A simple firewall installed on your computer could be the defense you need to keep those intruders out. A computer firewall isn’t just some neat little program to have on your computer; it is a crucial defense mechanism for your family. When combined with spyware and phishing detection software, a good firewall is very effective. It can work in conjunction with a hardware firewall such as some routers include. There are software companies that specialize in exactly that type of software. Their programs usually include regular updates that take place behind the scenes. These updates are hugely helpful in making sure that your computer’s virus and malware protection is kept current.

Viruses can bring your computer to a halt

Many computer users adopt the “it will never happen to me” policy. They don’t seem to recognize that there are a long list of computer viruses and other threats out there lurking about, waiting to move in and destroy the information contained on their hard-drives. We briefly mentioned virus protection earlier. Viruses can absolutely bring your computer to a halt, making it so terribly slow that you cannot work, or even causing it to behave in ways that you cannot overcome without help. Good anti-virus software automatically works to detect the presence of viruses on a computer or in a file or email before it is opened.

People who spend a great deal of time surfing online and visiting unfamiliar websites are at a higher risk for computer viruses than those who do not. Computer viruses are typically attached to word processing documents, emails, and computer programs such as .exe files. Images can even be infected by viruses. If a virus infects a computer, the owner may be forced to restore the computer to its original condition via the manufacturer’s restore disc. When that happens, you will typically lose everything in your computer if you don’t have a good backup available.

Just a word of caution.

If you suspect that your computer may be infected with a virus, please do not send e-mail messages or photos to family or friends. If you do, the virus could spread to their computers just as it did to yours.

The good news is that protecting your computer, and therefore your family’s online security, is not as difficult as it may sound. Anti-virus software is available on CD or DVD and most manufacturers also make it available as a download. It’s both a preventative approach and a cure for certain ailments affecting a computer. Anti-virus software can scan files as they come into the computer. The program would scan the files for potential viruses and then post the results immediately on the computer screen. This lets the computer user know which files are safe and which are not.

Anti-virus software is quite affordable, and frankly, it is absolutely indispensable. Purchase and install a good computer protection software suite. You can get stronger protection and enhanced privacy with ZoneAlarm 2013. You will not regret having done so.