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First of all, it’s important to know that viruses are forms of Malware – malicious software designed to exploit your computer’s vulnerabilities. So viruses carry out their malicious intent by attaching and replicating themselves on computer programs, data files, or the boot sector of hard drives. Generally speaking, viruses are spread via the internet and email.

So let’s start where the viruses start: Computer programs, data files and boot sectors of hard drives.  Companies who make these products design them with the goal of bypassing even the most effective of security systems. However, new viruses are always being created. So when GadellNet installs software or Operating System updates monthly, part of these updates are accounting for and remedying vulnerabilities in their prior versions. The vulnerabilities may have made that OS or that particular program an easy target for viruses.

This is where antivirus software (AVS) comes in to save the day. AVS scans your computer for known threats periodically and reacts by informing you if any known threats were found (depending on what program you have, the AVS may also eliminate the threats). But, this only accounts for the known viruses. So like the other software updates you should install, keeping your AVS up-to-date is quite crucial to staying virus free.  Fortunately, this happens automatically for GadellNet managed clients.

But wait – your AVS is current and you still got a virus?!? First most important thing to always know is that there are too many threats and they’re being created all the time. While your AVS may have just released an update yesterday, there could be 5 new viruses today, and now your computer is at risk.

The second most important thing to know is that AVS cannot do it all on its own (think “no man is an island”). Spam filters, malware protection, security features in email and on internet browsers all play another role in keeping your computer safe from virus threats. These features are more proactive, as opposed to the reactiveness of AVS, in that they seek to block potential threats from infecting your computer.

Unfortunately the proactive measures can’t always catch everything, so you may end up downloading a virus.  When this happens, it will infect your computer until the scheduled AVS scan runs and finds the virus (assuming it’s a known virus for which your AVS is scanning).

So here’s the conclusion, without much resolution: as debunking and frustrating as this is, there is no foolproof method to keeping your computer safe from viruses- even if you’re taking every precaution possible.  Definitely use an AVS if you’re not already, and keep it updated. And remember you’ll also need take proactive measures to ensure safety, like spam filters, malware protection, and upping the security on your internet browser.

Now for more unfortunate news, viruses are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to possible threats.  There are a ton of others just waiting for an opportunity to attack your computer, and they’re becoming more adaptable and sneaky all the time… so stay tuned for more blogs on identifying and avoiding computer threats.

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