Since this post is the last of October, it may be beneficial to remind everyone that many of the software programs you are using may need to be revisited. While this post may be very useful for those that have brought me their computers and are working on keeping things running smooth (no tricks), it is probably also good for others to look at what they are using on their computers and update their software (or no treats).
Many are using some sort of anti-virus – take a moment to see if you are running the latest version (if there is a software upgrade or newer version you could be using). Since many folks get various packages, I’ll only note the very popular free programs that should meet home user needs (always read the EULA [End User License Agreement] to make sure you don’t violate use). The only free one I recommend is AVG. I use the paid version and have for 3 years running. The latest offering is AVG 2011 Free Edition – upgrade now.
While some software packages tout all-in-one capabilities, the reality is no single package of software meets all threats or responds as well as others that focus on a specific area of threats. Ad-Aware Free Internet security is at version 8.3.4 as of this posting. If you are running an older version, make sure you visit their site and get the latest version (then keep it updated).
One of the popular programs is an oldie but a goodie – Spybot. Believe it or not, they are still at version 1.6.2, however be sure that is the version you are running. Then take the time to download the most current definitions, then immunize your computer.
A heavy hitter in this area is Malwarebytes. Currently the version is a 1.46 – and they update their database many times a day. Today is a good day to open this program, update your definitions and scan your computer for any issues.
While these are far from the only programs out there, many people use these programs to fix badware issues that happen to their machines. Whatever software package(s) you are using, why not take some time today to make sure you are using the latest version of the software, then update the definitions and scan your computer to keep it running at peak performance – and problem free!
If you haven’t heard about this one, you must spend way too much time under a rock. Many major news outlets have been discussing this on the television, radio, and (gasp) on line (for a sample, click here for a Google News search).
Computers already infected by the worm are supposed to be automatically updated with some unknown software component on April Fools Day. That’s more or less the sum of what computer experts know about the rhyme or reason behind this worm, but it hasn’t stopped pundits and the press alike from issuing ominous warnings…Security software maker F-Secure has put together an interesting and entertaining FAQ on Conficker, which I highly recommend that anyone worried about this threat go read. F-Secure also has a free cleaning tool available at that link.
(from Conficker: Doomsday, or the World’s Longest Rickroll?)
There are many writings on this, one of my favorites has been posted on Lockergnome (‘How Do I Know If I’ve Got The Conficker Virus?‘). There the author brings up important issues as well (messages that pop up saying you need a newer set of codec’s to play media files or need to upgrade flash player). I always recommend keeping your operating system and software programs up to date, but be mindful that every message that pops up may not be from a trusted source!
Since April 1 is right around the corner, why not take the time to make sure your Anti-Virus is updated and set up correctly (scanning as per either the default settings or to your preference, but make sure it is functioning!). While you’re at it, check to make sure your operating system and applications are up to date with all the applicable security and update patches. Don’t forget your firewall and other malware programs you may be using, check on them as well!
While many writing about this particular virus run the gammet between crying wolf and doomsday predictions, the ultimate security for your machine is – YOU! Be informed, and take all necessary precautions. Happy Computing!