Viruses, Adware & Spyware

Don't have a virus checker & need to check for viruses ?

Click the Link above to get free anti-virus software for your PC! (The download link is at the bottom of the AVG Anti-Virus page.) Don't forget to update your virus definitions after you install it for up-to-date protection.

(If you already have anti-virus software, like Symantec's Norton AntiVirus or McAfee VirusScan, try updating your virus definitions and scan your PC with those first.)
Think you might have Adware or Spyware?

Click the Link above to get a free adware and spyware remover for your PC! Don't forget to check for updates in the software after you install it for up-to-date protection.

(If you are constantly getting popup ads without even clicking anywhere, your start page keeps changing, or new programs are appearing on your desktop, you probably have adware - see below for more info!)

Frequently asked questions about Viruses, Adware & Spyware

What is a virus?
What is adware or spyware?
How can I avoid getting viruses?
How can I avoid getting adware or spyware?
How can I check for and remove viruses?
How can I check for and remove adware and spyware?

 
What is a virus?

A virus is a program or piece of programming code designed to cause problems with the computers that it infects. A virus is also designed to replicate itself so that it can spread from one computer to another. The damage that a virus causes can be minor (like making an annoying message appear on your screen), or major (like destroying data on your hard drive).

Viruses often (but not always) spread through email and can disguise themselves as a computer game or as a link to an interesting web site. Some viruses look for weaknesses in the Windows operating systems and can spread to your computer when it is on the Internet even though you aren't actively doing anthing! That's why it's important to keep your Windows system updated with the link to Microsoft's Windows Update site on our home page.

Worms and Trojans are special types of viruses, but for all practical purposes we'll refer to all of them as just "viruses" on this page.

What is adware or spyware?

Adware is a program installed on your computer that usually displays popup ads or blinking advertisements when you connect to the internet. Spyware is a program that transmits personal information from your computer to places on the Internet, possibly including sites that you visit for marketing research or even personal financial information.

It is possible to get infected with adware or spyware knowingly - by clicking on an agreement to download a free piece of software in exchange for adware installation, for instance - but more often it is done without your knowledge and may happen just by clicking on the wrong link on a web site.

Some of the signs that you have adware or spyware include seeing lots of popup windows even when you aren't actively clicking on anything in your browser, seeing your start page (the page that first comes up when you open the browser) change by itself, or seeing new program icons appear that you didn't install.

While some adware and spyware programs can simply be uninstalled in Control Panel under Add/Remove Programs, most (like viruses) are very difficult to remove, and also very annoying !

How can I avoid getting viruses?

There are lots of viruses and worms on the internet. Our virus filter protects your email from most known viruses, but others can infect you via web browsing or direct attacks by hackers. You can avoid viruses and worms, however, with some prudent precautions:

  • If you get an email with an attachment, make sure that you need to open it before doing so. If you are not sure or don't know the sender, do not open the attachment.
  • If you suspect you have a virus that you got from email, disconnect your computer from the network if you are on a computer network. This will help prevent other computers from getting infected. If you have a dialup connection, you should disconnect the phone line from the modem or wall jack. This is the only way to insure that you are not connected to the Internet. Some viruses can actually dial out using your modem without you knowing about it. There have been cases where the virus will run up huge phone bills by calling overseas.
  • If you use Windows, keep your Windows system up to date by downloading critical updates from Microsoft's Windows Update site.
  • Obtain a virus protection program. If you already own such a program, make sure that you update it often. New viruses are released on a daily basis. It is very important that you keep your virus program updated, so the program will have the best chance of detecting the newest viruses. If you don't have an anti-virus program you can download a free anti-virus program from GRISoft by clicking here. You can also perform a free virus scan online by visiting www.trendmicro.com and click the Free Virus Scan link.
  • Do not download files from an unknown or untrustworthy source. Every time you download a file from the Internet, you risk virus infection. The best thing you can do is not download files at all, but if you do download files, it is generally accepted that some of the major download sites are "safer". There are some sites that check all files for viruses before they make them available for download. However, this is still no guarantee that it will be virus free.
  • If you think you have a virus, take your machine in to a computer repair center and have a trained technician check it for viruses. You may risk further damage the longer you wait to do this. Sometimes a virus cannot be found or cleaned by a virus program; only a trained technician will know what to do in such cases.
How can I avoid getting adware or spyware?

Most of the suggestions above to avoid getting viruses apply here as well. Here's some prudent precautions you can follow:

  • Don't open an email attachment or download and install anything from web sites unless you know it is from a trusted source.
  • If you are trying to close a popup window in your web browser, always close it by clicking on the little "X" in the upper right of the popup. Never hit a "Close this Window" button in the middle of the popup since this is often a disguised adware installation trick.
  • If you get an email from someone you do not know asking you to click on a particular link, don't click it! Be particularly careful of emails that look like they are from eBay, PayPal or other financial institutions asking you to "verify your financial information" by clicking on a link. The link may look legitimate but is usually an attempt by someone to gather your personal financial information.
  • Obtain an adware/spyware protection program. If you already own such a program, make sure that you update it regularly to keep your protection current. You can download a free adware/spyware remover from SpyBot Search & Destroy by clicking here. Another free spyware remover called Ad-aware is available from LavaSoft. In any case, once you install an adware/spyware remover run an update from it first to get the latest protection for your PC!
How can I check for and remove viruses?

The only way to check for and remove viruses from your PC is to install and maintain with current updates a good anti-virus program. Some of the more popular are available from Symantec and McAfee. You can download a free anti-virus program from GRISoft by clicking here. You can also perform a free virus scan online by visiting www.trendmicro.com and click the Free Virus Scan link.

How can I check for and remove adware and spyware?

The only way to check for and remove adware/spyware from your PC is to install and maintain with current updates a good adware remover. McAfee makes a good commercial adware remover. You can download a free adware/spyware remover from SpyBot Search & Destroy by clicking here. Another free adware remover called Ad-aware is available from LavaSoft.

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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