I recently came across a computer that was reported to be infected with viruses. Not so uncommon, but what was interesting was the virus protection. The user had managed to keep the software subscription up to date, but apparently had never updated the virus definitions (the live update option had been turned off). The definitions were dated 2002. If you wonder what difference this makes, think of it like a condom. You can buy one, but if you leave it on the nightstand there’s a really good chance it’s not helping in the way you had intended when you purchased it.
There are new virus’s released all the time. In a simpler time it was adequate to update your definitions once a week. Today however, I recommend updating your definitions daily. Here are a few things to remember:
1) Only use one antivirus program. More is not always better. Choose the one that you feel is the best for your situation. If you are unsure, ask a professional or go with a known name such as Symantec or McAfee. Before installing a new version, make sure you have completely removed any old ones. I recommend removing the computer from the internet while doing this.
2) Make sure it is configured to update and scan automatically. This means you won’t have to constantly remind yourself to update.
3) If you get a message that a virus has been found, make sure the file is cleaned or deleted immediately. I would also recommend disconnecting your internet connection and running a full scan ASAP to make sure it was cleaned.
4) Make sure the virus protection loads each time and is up to date. Check it periocically. Viruses can sometimes disable your protection. A hole in your computer condom defeats the purpose.