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Privacy and Security

Preventing viruses and dealing with malware

You can detect viruses, spyware and other malicious programs — generally known as "malware" — running on your computer and remove them with up-to-date tools:

Anti-virus software
Anti-malware software
Anti-spyware software

Anti-virus software

Your computer can become infected with a virus through email attachments, from content you download from a website or from infected media (CD-ROM, DVD, ROM, USB drive, diskette, etc.). Anti-virus software helps prevent your computer from becoming infected and your files from being corrupted or lost. It also can detect existing viruses and clean your computer so that they do not spread.

  • Always use up-to-date anti-virus software, from a reputable vendor, that is capable of scanning files and email messages for malevolent software. Most anti-virus programs include an auto-update feature that enables the program to download profiles of new viruses so that it can check for them as soon as they are discovered.
  • Register new anti-virus software immediately, and sign up for automatic notification of product updates if available.

Anti-malware software

Malicious software attacks are rising at an alarming rate. Malware generally refers to any program that intentionally harms your computer and is typically installed without your consent.

Malware can get into your computer by doing something as innocuous as clicking on an ad, going to a website or even unknowingly downloading a document. The malware "industry" has blossomed so much that some malware actually poses as anti-malware software.

Your best defense is to keep your browser, operating system, and applications up to date, and to run updated anti-malware software.

Anti-spyware software

"Spyware" is a particularly nasty type of malware, and is designed to essentially “spy” on you by tracking and collecting your personal information. The information collected often includes your user IDs, passwords, name and address. Your computer can become infected with spyware through email attachments or from free content that you download from a website. Spyware is often installed on your computer without your consent.

Anti-spyware software can detect these programs running on your computer and clean your machine.

  • Have and always use up-to-date anti-spyware software.
  • Register new anti-spyware software immediately and sign up for automatic notification of product updates if the software vendor offers that option.