Be careful of attachments
Most viruses cannot spread alone – they need you to help them. If you’re careful, you can avoid getting infected, even if you don’t have any antivirus software.
You will often hear people tell you not to open attachments from people you don’t know. This is very bad advice, as it implies that you can trust attachments from people you do know – not at all the case. The person the email appears to be from could have been infected themselves, and the virus has sent itself to their entire address book. You should never blindly trust attachments, no matter who they come from.
The important part is to understand what different attachments do. Things like music, pictures and documents should be safe, as long as you don’t allow any macros to run unless you’re absolutely sure they’re alright. What you need to be careful of is emails with strange-looking extensions or icons that you haven’t seen before – EXE, COM, BAT, PIF and VBS files, among others. If your email program has an option to block executable attachments, you should turn it on. You should also be careful of ZIP files, which might contain these harmful files inside.
The same advice applies to peer-to-peer networks, and anywhere else you might get files. For this reason, while it is fine to download music and movies (at least from a virus-protection point of view), it is a very bad idea to download software in this way.
You should make sure to always keep your copy of Windows up-to-date, in case any security holes are found that could allow a virus to spread automatically. If you use Windows XP, just turn on Automatic Updates and set them to install automatically. For other versions of Windows, you will have to either make sure to regularly visit the Windows Update website or download an automatic updater for your system from there.
About the Author: John Gibb is the owner of Virus protection resources
, For more information on virus protection check out http://www.virus-protection-resource-and-guidance.info