Protecting your computers from malware is becoming increasingly difficult. While it may seem a bit paranoid, I’m right in saying that you can’t take your eye off the ball for one second. Even Microsoft’s internal network has been compromised on more than one occasion.

I remember the “good old days”, before the Internet and Internet threats such as Trojans, worms and viruses. In terms of computer malware life was simple back then. The main way a machine could be infected was via an infected floppy disk, the ability to detect and clean the virus was much easier. Compared to today, it used to take some time for viruses to infect a computer and slow the system down. Antivirus software back then was mostly capable identifying and cleaning viruses before they became too much of a problem or caused much damage. Computer users were clued up on how to protect themselves by scanning all external disks before copying them to a computer.

The arrival of the Internet changed all this; it provided new avenues through which viruses could move from host to host with alarming speed. Computer no longer only worry about viruses being transferred through floppy disks, but also now through emails, email attachments, peer-to-peer file sharing, instant messaging and software downloads. Today’s viruses can spread through many entry points without human intervention, and take full advantage of weak points within a system or program. With technology advancing at a great pace, and the advent of computers linking with other mobile devices, the potential threats also increase.

The advances in antivirus security software have thankfully kept up to date with virus threats. Antivirus software is very important to a computer’s ability to fight off viruses. These products are designed to fight against malware that enters a PC through the internet as well as file servers and desktops. These programs offer a main control feature that controls deployment, configuration and updating.

Computer users should remain alert and follow some simple steps to protect against today’s malware threats:

1. Evaluate your current computer security system

With the threat of new viruses that are now able to attack in an array of ways, the idea of having just one antivirus software has become outdated. You need to be sure that you have protected your entire computer system including desktops, networks, gateways and servers. You should consider a more complete antivirus internet security product which includes features such as antivirus, firewall, content filtering, and real-time proactive intrusion detection such as the ThreatSense technology found in ESET Nod32 . This type of security protection will make it more difficult for viruses to access your systems.

2. Buy Antivirus from reputable vendors only

Only buy antivirus and security software that has been created by a reputable company such as Kaspersky, ESET or BitDefender antivirus. New malware appears daily and so it is absolutely essential that you update the software regularly. Learn about the real-time scan tool and configure it to start whenever your computer starts up. This will protect your system by checking your PC each time it is turned on.

3. Always scan files and folders for viruses

Always scan new programs or files no matter from where they are from.

4. Be cautious of opening files and folders from unknown sources

Be careful when opening binary, Word, or Excel documents from unknown sources especially if they were received during an online chat session or as an attachment to an email.

5. Backup, backup, backup and backup

Backup your data on a regular basis in case your system breaks.