Is my computer protected from viruses?

How do I protect myself from viruses?

Computer viruses are hidden programs that can be very harmful to your computer. Possible consequences of computer viruses: Some programs can no longer be started and data is lost. If you are unlucky, the computer won't restart or it works particularly slowly and hangs up regularly.

Your computer can get a virus from attachments in emails, downloads from the Internet, surfing the Internet, or a contaminated USB stick. If you receive an e-mail with a file attachment from an unknown sender, you should not open this e-mail and delete it immediately! There are special anti-virus programs to protect your computer from viruses.

What is a computer worm?

The computer worm is also a virus, i.e. a small program that can damage your computer. It got the name "worm" because like a real worm it can crawl into the farthest corner of your PC. If you open the program in which the worm is sitting, it will reproduce by itself. In doing so, it will produce copies of its own. As a result, your computer is so busy that you can no longer work with it yourself. It also spreads through emails and downloads, surfing the Internet, or storage media such as USB sticks and memory cards. For example, if you have a worm on your computer, it can e-mail it to your friends and harm their computers.

What is a trojan?

Have you ever heard of the "Trojan Horse"? The ancient Greeks wanted to conquer the city of Troy. And because it wasn't that easy, they had to come up with something. They built a large horse out of wood and hid their soldiers in it. The Trojans thought the horse was a farewell gift from the Greeks and brought the horse to their city. During the night the soldiers came out of their hiding place, opened the city gates from the inside and conquered Troy. Trojan horse programs work in a very similar way. They disguise themselves as little games or music. As soon as you open such a program, the Trojan starts. It collects your data (for example your passwords) and forwards them to the makers of the Trojan software. The Trojan can also erase your entire hard drive or ensure that unauthorized persons gain access to your computer. In contrast to worms, however, the Trojans cannot multiply on their own.

What are bots and botnets?

A bot is software that can, so to speak, independently process repetitive tasks. There are good bots that do important tasks for search engines. Bad bots, on the other hand, damage the infected computer. They are used to spy on many email addresses or passwords, for example. The computer becomes a zombie. A computer can be infected by surfing the Internet or by downloads and opening e-mail attachments. If this malware is installed on your computer, it will try to infect other computers on its own. Most users do not notice that their computer is infected by a bot. Although the computer becomes a zombie, it otherwise functions normally for the user. Bots can do a lot of damage. 2/3 of all spam emails come from botnets.

Anti Virus Software - Why?

You need anti-virus software, also known as a virus scanner, to protect your computer from computer viruses. It scans your computer for viruses and at the same time makes sure that no new virus can establish itself.

But be careful: you have to update your virus scanner regularly, i.e. start an update, so that the latest viruses are also detected! If you want to be on the safe side, you also need to keep your operating system up to date. To do this, you can activate "automatic updates" in the Windows security center. You can find the security center under Start> Program Access> Standards.

Unfortunately, that is not one hundred percent certain either. This is why you should save important files on a USB stick or hard drive. Of course, there is also the option of backing up files using an online storage facility like dropbox.com.

What do I need a firewall for and how does it work?

A firewall guards around 65,000 ports on the computer. Ports are the interfaces to the computer. All data entering or leaving the computer pass through these “doors”. Some data are allowed to run through certain ports, others should be forbidden so that no damage can be caused. So the firewall is a kind of bouncer for your PC.

The firewall protects against unauthorized third-party use, monitors data traffic and restricts network access according to defined rules. With current operating systems, e.g. B. Windows 10, a firewall is included that fulfills these basic functions. Many routers also have a firewall function and thus provide additional protection.

To be on the safe side, you should also install fully-fledged firewall software. You can download it for free from the Internet.

Summary: what can I do about viruses?

Very much. Always keep your operating system and anti-virus software up to date. This is how you protect your computer from malicious software.

  • Install anti-virus software and update it regularly
  • Install and update firewall software regularly
  • Be careful with e-mails from an unknown sender: do not open any links or file attachments
  • Use strong passwords
  • Update the operating system regularly (for Microsoft Windows: activate automatic updates)
  • Regular backups of private files on external data carriers (e.g. DVD or USB stick)
  • Healthy distrust in all activities on the Internet