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The Infected Computer: Is Your PC Carrying a Hidden Virus?

At some point, most of us have had run-in with a computer virus. We’ve gone to a Web site we shouldn’t have or downloaded an attachment from an email, and suddenly our PC is acting funny: The computer is running more slowly, we get annoying pop-up ads or the PC crashes altogether.

These viruses are destructive and can be costly, but the damage they do is often limited. In recent years, however, viruses have become far more complex, powerful and sinister. Now, any one of us may be an unsuspecting carrier. These super-viruses have the capacity to record keystrokes, take screenshots or even listen in on our audio and Skype conversations. All of our data, business and personal, is at risk. PCs that carry the virus may even be involved in cyberterrorism without their owners’ knowledge.

Protecting Yourself

That's why it's so important to update your antivirus program. Companies like McAfee offer multiple antivirus software options. Such protection, when updated regularly, will keep your business computers free from most known viruses. The addition of a firewall and data encryption will keep hackers from slipping into your network (many storage solutions and wireless routers include encryption tools as standard features).

The trick, however, is protecting yourself from viruses that have not yet been discovered and that may be lurking even now. Staving off these infections will require you to stay on the alert, watching for signs of unusual activity on your computer.

Use your Task Manager to look for unusual processes running in the background or communication with suspicious IP addresses. Monitor data flowing into, out of and through your network. For more about these technical tasks, speak with an expert who will tell you how to watch your network for signs of danger.

Viruses may represent a threat to your business, but you can protect yourself and your computers.

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