The Malta Independent 15 July 2024, Monday
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My Daily Digital Toolkit… #9: Keeping your computer “healthy” by installing the best anti-virus

Thursday, 27 October 2016, 10:55 Last update: about 9 years ago

Written by Claudio Laferla, MITA Knowledge Management Centre Executive

Vaccines are intended to help you remain physically healthy. In the same way, the 'anti-virus' is like the vaccine as it helps keeping the computer healthy in its operation.

The software which negatively affects your computer is called 'malware' - malicious software, a term which includes a variety of viruses, worms or Trojan horses. This refers to any type of malicious software which your computer might get infected by. The reasons of getting this malware vary considerably, such as USBs sharing from one computer to another; downloading software or films from unknown servers from the Cloud; by surfing from one URL to another; receiving emails from unknown persons and opening attachments from emails.

Those who enjoy infecting other people's computers are known as 'cyber attackers.' There are at least four openings which the malware may attack in your computer, namely executable files; scripts; macros and the boot sector. However, with the help of an anti-virus in place and properly updated, together with the proper measures of safety, you should keep at bay from virus and various attacks.

A good anti-virus patrols your computer from the time you switch it on until powering off. It may control either the behavioural patterns of your computer or the Signature or characteristics of known programs.

The aim of this article is not about how the anti-virus works, but to highlight that each device that is connected to the Internet must be protected in the first place by a good anti-virus. Apart from that, the owner must adopt a 'best-practice' approach to lessen the possibility of malware infecting the computer. One may also be tempted to install more than one type of anti-virus software on the same computer. Actually, this is not effective, as it might create conflicts between the different software.

Another way in which you can be more protected is by updating your computer to all the necessary updates as you get them from time to time. Computer updates include patches which provide protection to your computer.

However, since the anti-virus is developed after the malware is unleashed, the fear always remains that first a virus is born and then the anti-virus is built accordingly. Consequently, there is good reason for not being one of those millions of people around the world who would have to 'format' their computer, or who would not be able to access any of their documents due to negligence for not purchasing good anti-virus software.

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