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Protecting your computer from viruses and other threats isn't difficult, but you have to be diligent. Here are some actions you can take; and advice about products to keep your PC safe and secure. Plus, a few handy tips to keep it that way.

Install an Anti-Virus program.
Installing an Anti-Virus program and keeping it up to date is your first line of defense. Anti-Virus programs scan for viruses trying to get into your email, operating system, or files. New viruses appear daily, so set your Anti-Virus software to install updates automatically.

Keep your Anti-Virus updated.
Keeping your Anti-Virus updated is the easiest way to increase your protection. When your virus databases are outdated, they will not recognize new virus threats, leaving your PC vulnerable to attack.
Stardot uses Trend Micro Internet Security 10 & Webroot simultaneously to keep our systems safe & secure. Webroot, unlike other Anti-Virus protection options, differs in that it can run alongside an existing protection package for added security. Other Anti-Virus packages tend to compete with each other while in use so don’t function as they should.

Don't open email attachments unless you're expecting them.
Many viruses are attached to email messages and will spread as soon as you open the attachment. It's best not to open any attachment unless it's something you're expecting. Contaminated attachments can come from strangers or even people you know, so it’s always best to be vigilant when opening emails that look suspicious.

What does a suspicious email look like?
Virus threats change every day and can come in many forms. Ransomware is a new type of virus that restricts access to your personal files. It is generally known to use emails in an attempt to acquire personal information whilst pretending to be from a government agency such as Australia Post, DHL, Transport Department, even The Federal Police. The most common virus infection we come across here at Stardot is the CRYPTOLOCKER virus (Ransomware). At least 50% of our customers are aware of how their computer became infected and are quite embarrassed that they fell victim to an email with a tempting subject such as ; “Get Your Million Dollars Here”, “You Have Mail Waiting”, or “You Are A Winner”.

These emails direct you to a website imitating actual government agency or bank websites and ask you to enter personal details and a “captcha” to see details regarding a traffic infringement, parcel delivery, and account details. Once these mimic sites have been visited, the virus is able to infiltrate your system and it effectively locks or encrypts your personal files and documents. You are then advised that your personal files & documents can be “unlocked” for a fee. This is where the title “Ransomware” comes in. The virus holds your files ransom with the promise of unlocking once you pay a fee. Generally even if the fee is paid your files and documents are not returned.
Anti-Virus software varies widely but to be protected against the worst nasties you need an Anti-Virus such as Trend Micro and Webroot which can protect you against Polymorphic virii. A Polymorphic virus is something that regularly changes or can change itself, rendering itself immune to most Anti-Virus databases.

What to do if your machine is infected.
There is little to no chance of recovering your data once this virus has made its way into your PC, however, the quicker you turn off your PC upon infection, the more chance a professional technician will have of recovering any data that has not been infected.
Don’t take unnecessary risks when it comes to your important information, Stardot can provide Anti-Virus software to help you protect your valuable data & documents.

Computer Maintenance.
Not all viruses will stop you in your tracks; it is possible to have virus infection without knowing. If your computer is a bit slower than normal, there are memory issues or software is not running as you would expect, it is possible that you have one or more viruses. Checking for viruses should be part of your regular PC maintenance. Stardot offers a Spring Clean for this very purpose. This includes scanning your computer for Malware / Adware, checking the status of your current virus protection, running system, and hardware checks and also performing a physical internal cleanout of your computer for just $49. A virus infection can be truly devastating in terms of lost data and productivity.

The four most important strategies are;

  • 1. Invest in and update quality Anti-Virus programs.
  • 2. Be vigilant in avoiding suspicious email attachments.
  • 3. Take regular system backups.
  • 4. Carry out periodic diagnostic checks on your computer such as Stardot’s Spring Clean.

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