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How to avoid virus

Discussion in 'Tech, Gadgets & Science Forum' started by Shy, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. Shy

    Shy JF-Expert Member

    Jan 2, 2009
    Joined: Nov 2, 2006
    Messages: 4,238
    Likes Received: 17
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    They say "Prevention is better than cure". Most causes of virus infections today happen through simple techniques that bad people use to trick you.

    Since anti-viruses can't always give the best protection, it is good if you know how to avoid viruses. I know a few basic techniques you can use how to easily spot viruses. These techniques have worked very well for me. In fact it has worked so good, that I've never had the need to install anti-virus software on my machine. Please note that I would never recommend not having anti-virus software, I am just saying that these techniques are extremely practical.
    Common stuff people don't know:

    - You can't get a virus by browsing a website. You can however get a virus by installing software the website asks you to install.
    - You can't get a virus by receiving an infected email and most of the time you also can't get it by reading the email the normal way it is presented to you. Important: you will very likely get a virus by opening the attachment(s) of an infected email.

    The bottom line of avoiding viruses:

    1. Don't ever install anything from a website if you do not know the website
    2. If you receive an email and don't know who it came from, simply delete it
    1. Don't ever install anything from a website if you do not know the website

    One of my best friends was browsing a bad website 3 months ago (on his birthday actually) when he received a pop-up telling him that he has been infected with a virus and must immediately click here to install anti-virus software. Not knowing the signs, he followed the instructions and installed the virus (that was impersonating an anti-virus) on his system.

    Soon after the virus was installed it told him that the supposedly 'virus' he had, could not be removed and that he needed other supposedly 'better' anti-virus software. Working along he was just helping the virus installing even more viruses on his system. Shame, I don't think it was his best birthday.

    First sign he missed: the pop-up was not from his system, but from the website. This is easy to spot. If you use internet explorer to view websites, there will always be a 'Windows Internet Explorer' in the top of the pop-up window somewhere.

    Second sign: The website he was browsing was bad. Websites that have questionable content, such as pirated software or adult content are bad.

    Hint: If you are not sure if a website is safe, type the name of the website in Google. If it's a trap, plenty other more trustworthy websites will have warnings on their websites and Google is the way to locate those warnings.
    2. If you receive an email and don't know who it came from, simply delete it

    This is extremely important if the email has any form of attachment or a link to a website to download something! Don't be fooled by any promises, guarantees or emotional heart breaking stories – they are all lies!

    Other less common ways of getting viruses:

    - From friends

    If a friend brings you software on a flash disk, you must think twice before installing the software. Does the person have good anti-virus software? (Remember: good trustworthy friends can also accidentally give you viruses)

    - Website impersonations

    Watch out for fake websites. The easiest way to spot a fake website is to analyse the address of the website, which is always displayed at the top of your internet browser.

    How an internet address (also known as URL) works:

    It consists out of 3 parts: The "http://", the "domains" and the path

    It always starts with http://, so you can just ignore that part of the address
    The domains are the part after that up until the first "/" character and the path are the rest.

    Example: http://www.google.com/accounts
    Domain = Google
    Path = /accounts

    The path simply says where on the current server the page is, so the important part is the domain, because this actually says which server to use.

    A domain is always divided by "." characters, for example "mail.google.com".

    Start from the right. So "com" would be the first domain (known as the top level domain or TLD). The guy who controls this domain controls all the ones that are beneath it. The .com registry is currently controlled by ICANN.

    The second level domain is "google.com" and is logically controlled by Google (but ICANN can bypass them if they want). And the third one is "mail.google.com" and is also controlled by Google.

    The important lesson here is if a website address is http://mail.google.123web123.com or http://secure.bank.123web123.com it belongs to 123web123.com and not Google or your bank! Therefore the website can impersonate the real websites to get you to log in details or to ask you to install viruses! Also watch out for any strange characters like the "@" in the domain name. Most of the time, this is associated with fake websites.

    - Fake links

    People can send you an email with a link that looks like a legitimate link, but actually links to a completely different website. Here is a perfect example: Google
    It looks like Google's website address, but if you click on it, it takes you to Yahoo!!
    The easiest way to spot this is to move with your mouse over the link without clicking on it. On the bottom left corner of your screen it should show the correct link you are actually going to go to when you click on it!

    Also remember the section above on how internet addresses work. An address could actually be the address you are visiting, but not the people you thought owned it.

    Also Google a website or a website address if you are not sure. This is a safe way to find out which 3rd parties know about them.