Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Best Way to Protect Your Church From Computer Viruses

It's plain and simple. Get yourself some reliable Spyware/Adware/Virus protection software. We have done the leg work to find the very best options for your church office. You can find some links to the right of the page, as well as below.

#1.)Firewall Gold: If you're looking to get ONE software that protects all your files, removes spyware, and guards against viruses, this is hands down our #1 recommendation.

#2.) Spyware Bot: This software comes as our #1 recommendation for spyware removal. Whie it doesn't do as much as the above "Firewall Gold" Its very easy to use, and does the job very effectively.

#3.)Church Data Security Software: This is our #1 recommendation for Data Protection. Again, this software is more specialized for data protection only, but if that's all you need, this is what we recommend. We know your church has many files that must be securely stored. The truth is, if you're not currently protecting them properly, anyone could be viewing them as we speak.

Please search our blog for dozens of tips on protecting your church from viruses, and securing your data. We're here to help, and hope that you find our blog informative. Check back for regular content updates.

How Viruses Work Against Your Church Computer System

Here are 10 ways to protect your church from viruses, and spyware.

1.) Use a high quality anti virus software.

2.) Make sure it is always turned on.

3.) Keep your software up to date. If there is a new release, download it!

4.) Backup your data regularly.

5.) If you use floppy disks or USB drives on public computers like your school computer lab, Kinko’s, or even digital photo printing store make sure you scan them for viruses. Public computers are notorious for not being up to date and properly protected.

6.) Be wary of email attachments.

7.) Use text email if possible. While HTML email is prettier and allows you more control over formatting it also can carry computer viruses.

8.) Use downloaded freeware and shareware files or software with caution. Try to download them from popular reputable sources

9.) Be wary of links in IM or instant messaging software

10.) Be wary of social networking sites, such as myspace or facebook. Never download anything from a user you don't know well as it could contain a virus!

Tips, by Jim Faller

Free Options For Church Security Software

Some small churches simply can't justify spending another dollar above their budget. So I've put together an article about some free things you can do to further secure your church database.

It is quite possible that those responsible for church security are completely overlooking one of their most vulnerable points of all: their computers. When it comes to protecting a church computer network, the one thing you cannot skimp on is the security software. Many of the new computers are coming with enhanced security features with the Vista operating system, but it is just not enough.

Here a few things you can implement for free. Download Windows Defender for free. Just do a Google for it, and you should find a free download. Windows Defender is a free security software that can help protect your church network from viruses, and other un wanted spyware and adware programs that put vital information at risk. After downloading it, install it on your desktop and run it every single day.

While Windows Defender is a fine piece of free security software, it really is not enough alone. You also should download a free adware remover called Adaware. Again, simply do a Google search for Adaware and you'll find a free download. Once you've downloaded it, install it to your desktop as well, and run it at least once per week. This will help take your church security to a new level, for free.

While those are the top two recommendations for free security software, free software will not provide the maximum amount of protection. It is one thing to keep your church computers from being infected with viruses, spyware, and adware, but its another thing to go the extra mile to protect your data. No doubt, your church has private information about tithing records, attendance, phone numbers, home addresses, and other private information on it.

If you are not currently running a top of the line software application to protect that data, anyone can hack it at anytime. More and more, hackers are targeting church networks, because they can easily get information they otherwise wouldn't get their hands on since the church is usually an easy target to pick off. It is a virtual goldmine for the right kind of hacker.

The safest thing you can do to help protect your congregation and their private information, is to invest in a quality software, specifically for church data security. You'll most likely find several good ones from Google, but they can be pricy. For a full list of affordable data security, virus protection, and spyware and adware removal software applications, check the links to the right of the page.

Remember, if you are in charge of keeping your church information secure, this is one area that you cannot skimp on. So while you will find some great deals on the church virus protection blog, do not go for the cheapest one just because its all you can afford. If you are a small church, and do not have the funds to purchase the more quality software, then wait until next week when you can. The difference in price is not really big, so you should be able to save for it.

Whatever you do, do not put it off as a non issue. Many churches have fallen victim to identity theft, and worse. Take every preventative step you can to make sure your church is not the next to suffer the same crimes!

Monday, November 26, 2007

All About Computer Viruses

Your computer is as slow as molasses. Your mouse freezes every 15 minutes, and that Microsoft Word program just won’t seem to open.

You might have a virus.

Just what exactly is a virus? What kind is in your computer? How did it get there? How is it spreading and wreaking such havoc? And why is it bothering with your computer anyway?

Viruses are pieces of programming code that make copies of themselves, or replicate, inside your computer without asking your explicit written permission to do so. Forget getting your permission down on paper. Viruses don’t bother to seek your permission at all! Very invasive.

In comparison, there are pieces of code that might replicate inside your computer, say something your IT guy thinks you need. But the code spreads, perhaps throughout your office network, with your consent (or at least your IT guy’s consent). These types of replicating code are called agents, said Jimmy Kuo, a research fellow with McAfee AVERT, a research arm of anti-virus software-maker McAfee Inc.

In this article, though, we’re not talking about the good guys, or the agents. We’ll be talking about the bad guys, the viruses.

A long, long time ago in computer years, like five, most viruses were comprised of a similar breed. They entered your computer perhaps through an email attachment or a floppy disk (remember those?). Then they attached themselves to one of your files, say your Microsoft Word program.

When you opened your Microsoft Word program, the virus replicated and attached itself to other files. These could be other random files on your hard drive, the files furthest away from your Microsoft Word program, or other files, depending on how the virus writer wanted the virus to behave.

This virus code could contain hundreds or thousands of instructions. When it replicates it inserts those instructions, into the files it infects, said Carey Nachenberg, Chief Architect at Symantec Research Labs, an arm of anti-virus software-maker Symantec. Corp.

Because so many other types of viruses exist now, the kind just described is called a classic virus. Classic viruses still exist but they’re not quite as prevalent as they used to be. (Perhaps we could put classic viruses on the shelf with Hemingway and Dickens.)

These days, in the modern era, viruses are known to spread through vulnerabilities in web browsers, files shared over the internet, emails themselves, and computer networks.

As far as web browsers are concerned, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer takes most of the heat for spreading viruses because it’s used by more people for web surfing than any other browser.

Nevertheless, “Any web browser potentially has vulnerabilities,” Nachenberg said.

For instance, let’s say you go to a website in IE you have every reason to think is safe, Nachenberg said.

But unfortunately it isn’t. It has virus code hidden in its background that IE isn’t protecting you from. While you’re looking at the site, the virus is downloaded onto your computer, he said. That’s one way of catching a nasty virus.

During the past two years, another prevalent way to catch a virus has been through downloads computer users share with one another, mostly on music sharing sites, Kuo said. On Limewire or Kazaa, for instance, teenagers or other music enthusiasts might think they’re downloading that latest Justin Timberlake song, when in reality they’re downloading a virus straight into their computer. It’s easy for a virus writer to put a download with a virus on one of these sites because everyone’s sharing with everyone else anyway.

Here’s one you might not have thought of. If you use Outlook or Outlook Express to send and receive email, do you have a preview pane below your list of emails that shows the contents of the email you have highlighted? If so, you may be putting yourself at risk.

Some viruses, though a small percentage according to Nachenberg, are inserted straight into emails themselves.

Forget opening the attachment. All you have to do is view the email to potentially get a virus, Kuo added. For instance, have you ever opened or viewed an email that states it’s “loading”? Well, once everything is “loaded,” a virus in the email might just load onto your computer.

So if I were you, I’d click on View on the toolbar in your Outlook or Outlook Express and close the preview pane. (You have to click on View and then Layout in Outlook Express.)

On a network at work? You could get a virus that way. Worms are viruses that come into your computer via networks, Kuo said. They travel from machine to machine and, unlike, the classic viruses, they attack the machine itself rather than individual files.

Worms sit in your working memory, or RAM, Nachenberg said.

OK, so we’ve talked about how the viruses get into a computer. How do they cause so much damage once they’re there?

Let’s say you’ve caught a classic virus, one that replicates and attacks various files on your computer. Let’s go back to the example of the virus that initially infects your Microsoft Word program.

Well, it might eventually cause that program to crash, Nachenberg said. It also might cause damage to your computer as it looks for new targets to infect.

This process of infecting targets and looking for new ones could eventually use up your computer’s ability to function, he said.

Often the destruction a virus causes is pegged to a certain event or date and time, called a trigger. For instance, a virus could be programmed to lay dormant until January 28. When that date rolls around, though, it may be programmed to do something as innocuous but annoying as splash popups on your screen, or something as severe as reformat your computer’s hard drive, Nachenberg said.

There are other potential reasons, though, for a virus to cause your computer to be acting slow or in weird ways. And that leads us to a new segment – the reason virus writers would want to waste their time creating viruses in the first place.

The majority of viruses are still written by teenagers looking for some notoriety, Nachenberg said. But a growing segment of the virus-writing population has other intentions in mind.

For these other intentions, we first need to explain the “backdoor” concept.

The sole purpose of some viruses is to create a vulnerability in your computer. Once it creates this hole of sorts, or backdoor, it signals home to mama or dada virus writer (kind of like in E.T.). Once the virus writer receives the signal, they can use and abuse your computer to their own likings.

Trojans are sometimes used to open backdoors. In fact that is usually their sole purpose, Kuo said.

Trojans are pieces of code you might download onto your computer, say, from a newsgroup. As in the Trojan War they are named after, they are usually disguised as innocuous pieces of code. But Trojans aren’t considered viruses because they don’t replicate.

Now back to the real viruses. Let’s say we have Joe Shmo virus writer. He sends out a virus that ends up infecting a thousand machines. But he doesn’t want the feds on his case. So he instructs the viruses on the various machines to send their signals, not of course to his computer, but to a place that can’t be traced. Hotmail email happens to be an example of one such place, Kuo said.

OK, so the virus writers now control these computers. What will they use them for?

One use is to send spam. Once that backdoor is open, they bounce spam off of those computers and send it to other machines, Nachenberg said.

That’s right. Some spam you have in your email right now may have been originally sent to other innocent computers before it came to yours so that it could remain in disguise. If the authorities could track down the original senders of spam, they could crack down on spam itself. Spam senders don’t want that.

Ever heard of phishing emails? Those are the ones that purport to be from your internet service provider or bank. They typically request some information from you, like your credit card number. The problem is, they’re NOT from your internet service provider or your bank. They’re from evil people after your credit card number! Well, these emails are often sent the same way spam is sent, by sending them via innocent computers.

Of course makers of anti-virus software use a variety of methods to combat the onslaught of viruses. Norton, for instance, uses signature scanning, Nachenberg said.

Signature scanning is similar to the process of looking for DNA fingerprints, he said. Norton examines programming code to find what viruses are made of. It adds those bad instructions it finds to its large database of other bad code. Then it uses this vast database to seek out and match the code in it with similar code in your computer. When it finds such virus code, it lets you know!

©2004 by Kara Glover

Feel Free to reprint this article in newsletters and on websites, with resource box included. If you use this article, please send a brief message to let me know where it appeared:

About The Author

Kara Glover is a Computer Tutor and Troubleshooter

Top 10 Ways To Protect Your Church Computers From Computer Viruses

As more and more people are becoming comfortable using their computers at school, home or in the church office it’s only a matter of time before they encounter a computer virus. Here are our top 10 steps to protect you from computer viruses.

Use a high quality anti-virus program. There are many different anti-virus computers programs on the market some of them are better than others. Look to reputable computer magazines or websites for ratings to help you find the one that matches your needs.

Always use your anti-virus software. Make sure your anti-virus software is always turned on and scanning, incoming and outgoing email messages, and any software programs you run.

Keep your antivirus programs up to date. Most programs come with a yearly subscription make sure you take advantage of the updates. More advanced programs allow you to schedule updates or full system scans for “off hours” like 2AM when you aren’t likely to be using your computer.

Keep your computer up to date. From time to time operating systems fall victim to security holes or issue updates. Make sure you check periodically to make sure you are running stable up to date versions of your software.

Backup your data regularly. This one is especially important for church office employees! Most windows computer users keep their documents in the “My documents” folder. This makes it easy to back up all of your important documents. Make weekly or monthly copies to CD or USB drives.

If you use floppy disks or USB drives on public computers like your school computer lab, Kinko’s, or even digital photo printing store make sure you scan them for viruses. Public computers are notorious for not being up to date and properly protected.

Be wary of email attachments. Treat any email attachment as potentially dangerous. Never open attachments from people you weren’t expecting. Also be careful of attachments from people you know but weren’t expecting. Many computer viruses replicate themselves by reading the contacts from an infected computer.

Use text email if possible. While HTML email is prettier and allows you more control over formatting it also can carry computer viruses. If you use text based email the only way to get a virus is by opening an attachment.

Use downloaded freeware and shareware files or software with caution. Try to download them from popular reputable sources that scan the programs before they are uploaded. To make sure you are safe scan the program before you install it on your computer.

Be wary of links in IM or instant messaging software. Don’t accept invitations from people you don’t know and never click a link from someone you don’t trust, they can easily redirect you to another website that will try to install a virus on your computer system.

©, All Rights Reserved.

About The Author

This article was written by Jim Faller

How To Protect Your Computer From Viruses And Spyware

I have been around computers for years. I even teach on Introduction to Computers class at a four-year university. Despite my knowledge of computers, I was not immune to the problems that viruses^ and spyware can do to a computer. My computer was attacked and it was so bad I ended up replacing my hard drive. Does that sound scary to you? If so, I apologize. At the same time, I hope that my experience can benefit you.

While many computer users are familiar with the term virus, not as many understand the term spyware. Simply put, spyware is software that performs certain behaviors such as advertising, collecting personal information, or changing the configuration of your computer, generally without your premission. Here are a few things that can happen if you get spyware on your computer.

* Pop-up advertisements will appear even when you are not on the internet.

* Your home page (the page that comes up when you first open your internet browser) changes all of sudden and you don't know why.

* A new toolbar appears and you can't seem to get rid of it.

* Your computer takes longer than usual to complete certain tasks.

* Your computer crashes a lot when it never used to.

Just reading the above list should be enough to encourage you to read on and do what you can to prevent viruses and spyware from attacking your computer. Below is a list I compiled of things you can do to protect yourself from viruses and/or spyware. Following these suggestions doesn't mean you will never have a problem. However, it should lessen the chance of it happening.

1. Everyone should have good anti-virus software on their computer. This is especially true it you use the internet. I use PC-cillin Internet Security 2006 on my computer. Before that I used Norton's Internet Security. Both are good but only work well if used properly. If you are a beginner computer user, I would recommend Norton over PC-cillin. However, PC-cillin is a good program for those who are more advanced computer users. It requires a little more patience to set up and a better understanding of computers than Norton's does.

2. While it is nice to have Internet Security software, one must make sure it is turned on and that it is updated weekly. New viruses are being created daily and if you don't update your anti-virus software weekly your computer is open to attack by new viruses.

3. Make sure you have a good firewall and that it is turned on. A firewall helps protect your computer from outside attacks. Again, a good Internet Security program such as Norton's and PC-cillin come with a firewall. However, remember they only work if they are turned on.

4. I use two free programs in addition to PC-cillin to give me a little extra protection from spyware. I run these programs once a week to ensure that my computer is free from spyware. The two programs I use are:

SpyBot - Search and Destroy

Spyware Blaster

Both these programs can be downloaded for free at

5. I use a free program that checks for advertising trackers and lets me get rid of them. You can download a copy of this program at The name of this program is:

Lavasoft Ad-Aware SE Personal

There are a few other things I would like to mention concerning viruses and protecting yourself from them.

a. When you receive an email from someone you don't know and it has an attachment. Never open the attachment. Often times these attachments can have viruses in them.

b. If you receive an email from someone you know with an attachment and you weren't expecting it, don't open the attachment. Contact them first to make sure they sent it. Sometimes a virus can send out emails without the person even knowing.

c. Be careful when you are downloading software or programs off the internet. Often spyware software will install during the installation of other software you want such as a music or video file. Whenever you are installing something on your computer, make sure you carefully read all disclosures, including the license agreement and privacy statement. Sometimes the inclusion of unwanted software in a given software installation is documented, but it may appear at the end of a license agreement or privacy statement.

d. Be careful when you use a file from someone else's computer. If someone gives you a disk, even if it is your best friend, run a virus scan on the disk before opening any files. It is possible for the file to have a virus without the person knowing about it.

I hope these tips will prove helpful to you. If you have good protection and exercise caution you have a much better chance of getting through your computer life without the headaches of viruses and spyware. However, remember there is no guarantee that it will never happen to you.

^A computer virus is a program that invades your computer system, hides there, and replicates itself. Viruses spread when you launch an infected application or start up your computer from a disk that has infected system files."

About The Author

Donna Rivera-Loudon

Donna has an MBA in information technology and is currently a Tupperware Director and CEO of her own company. She also teaches online Management and Business classes for a local community college as well as computer classes for a four-year university.

The 10 Most Rampant Computer Viruses

To help protect your church system from viruses, I've compiled a list of the top 10 most rampant computer viruses that commonly infect networks with open access, like some church offices.

Every day new computer viruses are created to annoy us and to wreak havoc on our computer systems. Below are ten viruses currently cited as being the most prevalent in terms of being seen the most or in their ability to potentially cause damage. New viruses are created daily. This is by no means an all inclusive list. The best thing you can do is to remain vigilant, keep your anti-virus software updated, and stay aware of the current computer virus threats.

Virus: Trojan.Lodear
A Trojan horse that attempts to download remote files. It will inject a .dll file into the EXPLORER.EXE process causing system instability.

Virus: W32.Beagle.CO@mm
A mass-mailing worm that lowers security settings. It can delete security-related registry sub keys and may block access to security-related websites.

Virus: Backdoor.Zagaban
A Trojan horse that allows the compromised computer to be used as a covert proxy and which may degrade network performance.

Virus: W32/Netsky-P
A mass-mailing worm which spreads by emailing itself to addresses produced from files on the local drives.

Virus: W32/Mytob-GH
A mass-mailing worm and IRC backdoor Trojan for the Windows platform. Messages sent by this worm will have the subject chosen randomly from a list including titles such as: Notice of account limitation, Email Account Suspension, Security measures, Members Support, Important Notification.

Virus: W32/Mytob-EX
A mass-mailing worm and IRC backdoor Trojan similar in nature to W32-Mytob-GH. W32/Mytob-EX runs continuously in the background, providing a backdoor server which allows a remote intruder to gain access and control over the computer via IRC channels. This virus spreads by sending itself to email attachments harvested from your email addresses.

Virus: W32/Mytob-AS, Mytob-BE, Mytob-C, and Mytob-ER
This family of worm variations possesses similar characteristics in terms of what they can do. They are mass-mailing worms with backdoor functionality that can be controlled through the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) network. Additionally, they can spread through email and through various operating system vulnerabilities such as the LSASS (MS04-011).

Virus: Zafi-D
A mass mailing worm and a peer-to-peer worm which copies itself to the Windows system folder with the filename Norton Update.exe. It can then create a number of files in the Windows system folder with filenames consisting of 8 random characters and a DLL extension. W32/Zafi-D copies itself to folders with names containing share, upload, or music as ICQ 2005a new!.exe or winamp 5.7 new!.exe. W32/Zafi-D will also display a fake error message box with the caption "CRC: 04F6Bh" and the text "Error in packed file!".

Virus: W32/Netsky-D
A mass-mailing worm with IRC backdoor functionality which can also infect computers vulnerable to the LSASS (MS04-011) exploit.

Virus: W32/Zafi-B
A peer-to-peer (P2P) and email worm that will copy itself to the Windows system folder as a randomly named EXE file. This worm will test for the presence of an internet connection by attempting to connect to or A bilingual, worm with an attached Hungarian political text message box which translates to “We demand that the government accommodates the homeless, tightens up the penal code and VOTES FOR THE DEATH PENALTY to cut down the increasing crime. Jun. 2004, Pécs (SNAF Team)”

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle to keeping your church computers safe from viruses.

About The Author

Anne Wolski has worked in the health and welfare industry for more than 30 years

Harmful Viruses And Other Malwares In Computers

A computer virus is often termed ‘malware’ because it is a type of malicious software. Having a proper understanding of what you're up against, will help you protect your church network from virus, and secure your data. Other types of malware are worms and Trojans. Let’s take a look at each of these below.


A virus usually arrives onto your computer hidden inside of another program which is often delivered by email attachments. It derives its name from the fact that just like a living virus, it needs a host to live and breed on. When you run the infected host program, you then launch the virus into the memory of your computer where it sets up home and waits to go about it’s intended function of destroying your files and infecting other computers.

Once the virus has infected your computer it waits for the programmed trigger to signal it into action. The trigger coded into the virus and can be anything from a specific date to a set number of times it has replicated itself.

Once triggered, it goes about the destruction it was designed for. It may be a simple deletion of files or pranks. It could also be programmed to destroy your operating system.

Viruses are commonly spread on email attachments. This is why you should never open an attachment unless you know who it was from. The problem is that sometimes it can appear as if a virus is just an attachment from someone in your address book, so always be on alert when you get an email with an attachment on it particularly if it is an .exe file.


Worms work a lot like viruses do. They are also self replicating and can reproduce so fast that they can overload and shut down entire systems. The difference between a virus and a worm is that the worm doesn’t require a host to live on. A worm is stand alone malware. They also usually hitch their way onto your computer through email but don’t need an attachment to ride on.

Trojans aka Trojan horses

Trojans take their name from the classic Greek story for they misrepresent themselves as well. They often pretend to be something they are not. Trojans are not self reproducing like worms and viruses but they can do just as much damage. They hide on other programs and record your keystrokes and steal passwords and credit card numbers.

Fighting malware

It is important to stay up to date with the latest methods being used to combat malware. Your computer can be destroyed by one of these nasty computer programs or your credit card and other personal information can be compromised. For starters it is a good idea to not open email attachments to reduce your risk of picking up a virus. Use a good virus detecting program and firewall to keep the pesky bugs out of your system.


Jeff Clark

What You Need To Know About Computer Viruses

What, another computer security article? Who needs it? Aren't we tired of all that techie stuff that only geeks can comprehend? Virus my foot! But seriously. Computer security is an important topic and those who neglect it will surely get themselves in trouble sooner or later. And you definately need to know about it if you are on a church computer network, to protect your church's data, and system from harmful viruses and spyware.

There is much confusion about what exactly a computer virus is. To many people a virus is simply any kind of bad thing that happens to their computer. This would be more or less correct around 1995, but since then several other threats have appeared and using a blanket term like 'virus' for all of them is misleading. Having said that, I don't mean any disrespect to the word 'virus'. After all, it is the granddaddy of all malicious software (or malware for short).

Old School Viruses

At first viruses were rather simple-minded, although dangerous at times. All they wanted was to enter your computer and destroy some data. Their favorite way of transmission was to attach themselves to otherwise harmless programs.


As "state of the art" viruses developed, a new breed came to the scene: worms. This charming name is used to describe a type of virus that not only infects the host machine, but also replicates itself over the network. In practice that means that a well-written worm can create real mayhem around the world in a matter of days. It is estimated that damage from some famous worms reaches billions of dollars.

Trojan Horses

Many programs, multimedia or other goodies can be found on the Internet. Often they are free and, let's face it, there are very few things that people like more than free stuff. The trouble with some free software is that it also comes with one or more viruses already included free of charge. Hence the name "Trojan Horse".

Are viruses good for my computer?

Absolutely! If you want to get rid of all that data clogging up your hard drive, a virus is a wonderful solution. If you want your spanking new computer to slow down to a crawl, then a virus is the way to go. If you're lucky, you may even get a worm which will not only help you clean up your computer from all those annoying files, but will also send a copy of itself to all your friends that it finds in your Outlook address book. In short, if you think that your computer is too fast and gives you too little trouble, a virus or two can really help!

Thankfully, you don't have to try too hard to get a virus. Simply connect an unprotected computer to the Internet for a few hours and let them come. That's all it takes.

Tips on How to Protect Yourself

Truth be told, viruses are not as hot as they used to be. It turns out that there's not much money in writing them. This of course doesn't mean that you should neglect the virus threat. There are quite a few dangerous viruses roaming the Internet. So keep your hard drive happy and don't let the viruses ruin your day. Here is what you can do:

1) Use a good antivirus program and update it regularly. Unfortunately, some antivirus products inflict more damage than actual viruses do. So, before getting an antivirus program, be sure to read some professional reviews and user feedback.

2) If you download software from the Internet, use only reputable sources. Scan the installation file with an antivirus program before running it.

3) Be very careful about opening email attachments. Be particularly vigilant if you use Microsoft Outlook.

Since you are reading this page, you are already in better shape than most computer users. So keep it this way and visit for more useful information.

About The Author

Rick Glover is a computer consultant to Fortune 500 companies.

10 Smart Ways to Protect Your Church Computer against Viruses

Virus infection on your computer may cause a very serious damage and even loss on your business. You can just imagine it may wreck your system registry or your entire computer (with all your receivables data on it!) or all your HTML programs! It will come to total black out screen, it will not boot at all. But that is actually the worse scenario that may happen. Are you going to wait for this worse scenario in your life to happen? I guess NOT, right?

Here are the 10 smart ways that I personally do to protect my computers against viruses, malicious dialers and spywares. I advise you do the same on your church network!

(1)If you are using Windows XP, always turn on the firewall.

(2)Always run all necessary latest updates & service packs (all windows! including all your programs & software!---keep them updated)

(3)Run your anti-virus program everyday (some do it every week) There are many virus programs that you can get for free scanning.

(4)Run your anti-spyware/adaware once a week (I run Spybot Search & Destroy & Lavasoft Adware Personal --- they are shareware, meaning it’s free!). What I do is that, I run the Lavasoft Adware first, then run the Spybot Search and Destroy (I also run it with “immunize” tool). These two tools are always on top of my desktop for easy access.

(5)Turn on the pop-up blocker – this feature is available on Windows XP (you can see this under tools>Internet Options >Privacy>click Block Pop Ups. In addition to this, I also download another pop up blocker, the Google Toolbar. I find their pop up blocker the most effective in blocking pop ups.

(6)Never open mails that are suspicious to you or not known to you. If they are in your bulk mail, send it back to your provider as “spam”! I never enable my bulk mail. I automatically delete emails from my bulk mail.

(7)When using messenger (IM) services, be very careful with files being sent through instant messenger. Rather choose to have it emailed it to you. Most of email services now has virus check and clears it if the file has virus or not.

(8)Be very careful when downloading files or any programs from the internet, pay attention on the instructions while downloading it. Downloading may sometimes cause error on the system registry or the entire computer system (one example, my nephew got his computer badly infected with viruses because of heavy downloading of games and music! – I guess!)

(9)Be careful with files that come from a floppy disk or any other external storage when you open it in your CD ROM of floppy drive. You should know its source, or better yet, when you insert it, have it scanned with your anti-virus program before you open the files.

(10)Run defragmentation, disk clean up, registry scanner at least once a week. You can find defragmentation by simply pointing your mouse on drive C: (which is usually the hard disk main logical drive)> right click the mouse>click on properties>click on tools>click on defragment now!

There are so many shareware on the internet that you can get for free! (that is the reason it is a shareware!). Keeping your computer healthy can make you more productive (if you have a business!) or it will make you enjoy more surfing and browsing the internet!

About The Author

Ms. Mcbanon is an experienced Medical Biller and Coder based in New York. A graduate of Bachelor Science in Computer Engineering. A Medical Practice Billing Consultant

How Computer Viruses Work and How to Protect Your Church Computer

Many people are afraid of tinkering with their computers because of the fear that they might inadvertently introduce a computer virus into the church computer system.

Computer viruses have become the technological boogeyman that scares computer users all over the world. Especially in church administration networks. We have all heard of how dangerous computer viruses are and how it can damage your data. Which is why you should go to every length to secure your church data. Of course, aided by the bloated images Hollywood movies paint with regards to computer viruses, a big majority now have this insane (but mostly unfounded) fears about it.

It is true that computer viruses are dangerous. Anyone who has lost vital information in their computers because of a computer virus will know how big a damage it can cause. But computer viruses are not these insidiously little pieces of code that could wreak havoc on the world. If you know what to do when you get a virus in your computer then you can definitely limit, if not totally stop, the damage it can cause.

But what is a computer virus? Well, it is a software with a small imprint that would usually attach itself on to a legitimate program or software. Every time this program is executed the virus is also executed and it tries to reproduce itself by attaching to other programs or it immediately starts affecting the computer. A computer virus and email virus basically have the same modus operandi, the difference though is that an email virus would attach itself to an email message or automatically send itself using the addresses in the address book in order to infect the people who receive the email.

A computer virus is usually embedded in a larger program, often a legitimate piece of software. The virus will be run when the legitimate software is executed. The computer virus would load itself into the memory of the computer and then it will seek out any programs where it can likely attach itself. When a likely program is found then the virus would modify the file in order to add the virus’ code to the program. The virus would usually run before the actual legitimate program runs. In fact, the virus would usually perform the infection first before it commands the legitimate program to run. This process is so fast that no one would even notice that a virus was executed. With two programs now infected (the original program and the first infected program), the same process would be repeated whenever either program is launched worsening the level of infection. Be extra careful when you download software onto the church computers, you never know when you might infect the system with a virus.

After the infection phase, or even within the middle of the process of infection, the virus would usually start its attack on the system. The level of attack can range from silly actions like flashing messages on the screen to actually erasing sensitive data.

Fortunately, there are steps that you can do in order to protect your computer from viruses. Among the steps that you can take are:

* The simplest way to avoid a virus is to install a legitimate and effective antivirus program in your computer. The antivirus program is designed to look out for any kind of activity that could be seen as similar to a virus attack or infestation and it automatically stops it.

* You can opt to use a more secure operating system in your computer. For example, Unix is a secure operating system because the security features built into it prevents a virus from actually doing what it is programmed to do.

* Enable Macro Virus Protection in all of the Microsoft applications resident in your computer. Additionally, you should avoid running macros in a document unless you have a good idea of what these macros are going to do.

* Avoid using programs that you have downloaded on the internet especially when they come from dubious sources.

* Never open an email attachment that contains an executable file – these are files with the EXE, COM and VBS extensions.

About The Author

Matt Gundesen is a certified expert in the field of antivirus software