Important for Windows Users:
To prevent from trouble with your more or less loved PC I strongly recommend (besides virusscans - with updated virus information files) especially for you home PC's (which often are neglected):
- Keep your operating system up-to-date applying Microsoft (Windows) Updates!
- Don't use Internet Explorer as your favorite Web-Browser. Prefer e.g. Firefox (free and Open Source). Firefox has fewer security issues (or at least they get fixed faster).
- Pay attention what and from where you are downloading.
- Make sure you download software from the original location. Virus scan downloaded files.
- Disable Outlook (Express) Mail-Preview window. Outlook uses IE to display HTML-Mails and so is affected by IE security issues. It is like browsing to a dangerous website. Even better: Use another E-Mail-Client (e.g. Thunderbird - again) and turn off HTML-Display.
- Don't open mails from unknown sender names (as far as possible), especially if there are attachments. However, usually viruses spread out by e-mail from an infected workstation by sending itself to all people in the address book so you might get viruses even from your friends and collegues.
- Don't open attachments if you are unsecure about the content - especially from unknown senders or direct from the mail with a double-click. Drag them on the desktop because the true file extension can be hidden behind a faked display name. Unfortunately by default Windows itself also hides file extensions. You should turn on file extension display at Explorer->Tools->Folder options->Do not hide file extensions.
- File extensions like TXT, CSV, RTF, JPG, GIF, PNG, TIF, BMP, PDF are generally not dangerous. HTML as far as you do not click on dangerous links or use IE. Especially dangerous are EXE, COM, PIF, BAT, CMD, VBS, JS.
- Be careful because of fake messages - There are several viruses or backdoor programs distributed via fake mails. Some of these messages look very serious coming from Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay etc. Serious emails coming from these companies do never include attachments. Further serious companies never ask for credit card numbers or passwords using E-Mail. If you are unsecure about the content of an email using Outlook Express (with mail preview turned off) you can export it by dragging it on the desktop. It will be exported in mime format which can be opened with notepad (not by double clicking it!!!) to see the plain text mail with even all header information.
Following these recommendations you can minimize the risk of activating viruses or backdoor programs on your machine.
Wishing you freedom of viruses and other suffering.