Today we're talking about computer viruses, what they are, and how you can protect yourself from them. No programs or websites mentioned here are sponsors. The sources below contain helpful links to the topics discussed in today's article.
What Is It?
The first step to defending yourself against viruses is to understand what a virus is. "A computer virus is a piece of software that can 'infect' a computer, install itself and copy itself to other computers, without the users' knowledge or permission. It usually attaches itself to other computer programs, data files, or the boot sector of a hard drive." (dell.com, 2018) There are various types of viruses, and a list of varieties can be found in the sources below.
What can we do to protect ourselves from a virus? To answer the question, don't go onto sketchy websites; be careful about opening unsolicited emails, and if you do open an email that seems odd, do not open or download the attachments that come with it. Those simple precautions go a long way in preventing infection.
It's also helpful to use antivirus software on your computer. In my research, I've found some of the top-rated antivirus software: Total AV, PC Protect, and Bitdefender. That's only three out of several hundred. I recommend doing thorough research into the different types of antivirus available. Make sure the features of a program suit your needs.
A Word On COVID-19
It'd be remiss of me to upload an article about computer viruses and not mention the real-life virus that's affecting the world right now.
COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus, has spread through the world at large. It's spoken about every day, every hour, every minute, and it has caused widespread panic and fear. It's hard to look past that fear, but in times like these, I like to think of something said by the great Fred Rogers - "Look for the helpers."
Look at the doctors and nurses, putting themselves at risk to help those who are sick. Look at the grocery store workers who are doing their best to help us all in our quest for essentials. Look at the janitors and cleaners who are making sure the spaces we go into aren't contaminated. Look at the family members who remain in quarantine with their sick loved ones. They are the helpers, and we can be helpers too.
How? Be kind to each other and the people you interact with throughout the day. Wash your hands and disinfect your environments to the best of your ability. If you're sick, stay home. Check-in on your friends. And if the constant coverage is stressing you out? Be kind to yourself and log off for a little bit.
I won't lie; this is scary, but when things get scary is when we have to work the hardest to be calm. I've put the CDC and WHO pages on COVID-19 in the sources.
Stay safe, stay calm, and "look for the helpers."
dell.com. (2018). What are the different types of Viruses, Spyware and Malware that can infect my computer?. [online] Available at: https://www.dell.com/support/article/us/en/04/sln265920/what-are-the-different-types-of-viruses-spyware-and-malware-that-can-infect-my-computer?lang=en
Judge, K. (2019). What is a Computer Virus and Types of Virus? | Comodo Blog. [online] Comodo Antivirus Blogs | Anti-Virus Software Updates. Available at: https://antivirus.comodo.com/blog/computer-safety/what-is-virus-and-its-definition/
us.norton.com. (n.d.). Malware 101: What is malware?. [online] Available at: https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-malware.html
us.norton.com. (n.d.). What Is A Computer Virus?. [online] Available at: https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-malware-what-is-a-computer-virus.html
“Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 Mar. 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
“Coronavirus.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019.