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Avoiding Viruses and Worms

  • Did you know? Computer viruses are among the most common security problems on the Internet today.

What is a virus?

Virus: A man-made computer program that, when opened, infects your computer and attempts to spread itself to other computers. A virus will often attempt to spread via e-mail automatically by sending copies of itself to everyone in your address book.

Worm: Shares most of the traits of a virus, but is able to spread on its own without human interaction.

  • Did you know? Viruses need a person to help them! If you don't help them, the virus can't hurt you!

A person must open the virus-infected program in order for the virus to spread. Viruses can be attached to other legitimate programs and run without the user being aware of their presence. That's why it's important to follow some simple rules!

How do they spread?

Viruses are mainly spread via e-mail, although some websites can infect your computer as well. Worms seek out non-infected computers by searching the network, and then spread themselves by exploiting security weaknesses.

  • Did you know? It is usually difficult to be infected by a virus without unwittingly installing it yourself!

Computer users often install viruses on their computers by accident. Because viruses spread themselves automatically, they often come from friends or family members without their knowledge. Even though an e-mail came from someone you trust, you may still be in danger of contracting a virus! The purveyors of viruses actually depend on this "trust factor", tricking you into opening the e-mail or its attachments.

For example, let's say you get an e-mail from a friend including an attachment. When you open the attachment, thinking your friend or family member sent it on purpose, your computer becomes infected with the virus. The virus then spreads itself to your family and friends, using your e-mail address book to trick them into believing the message is a legitimately from you.

  • Did you know? New viruses are created all the time! Anti-virus programs need to be updated often to keep up!

How do I protect myself and my computer?

  • Use an anti-virus program.
  • Download updated virus profiles for your anti-virus program as often as practical.
  • Set your anti-virus program to scan at start-up.
  • Set your anti-virus program to scan each and every file when it's used by the computer.
  • Keep your computer software up to date:
    • Operating system updates are critical, the Microsoft Update service is free of charge, and provides a valuable tool to keep operating systems current with the latest security patches.
    • Don't forget to keep your other applications (even your games) updated.
  • Don't open attachments to e-mails sent by people you do not know:
    • Tell everyone who uses the computer to do the same.
  • If someone you know sends you an attachment, scan it with an anti-virus program before you open it.
  • Be very careful when using peer-to-peer file sharing programs, viruses are easily spread on these types of services.
  • Make sure to scan all downloads with an anti-virus program before installing.
  • Don't install any software or programs unless they are from a source you trust.
  • Back up all of your important files regularly:
    • Many viruses corrupt or even delete legitimate files and software.
    • If a virus corrupts your files, and you "clean" your computer to eradicate the virus, you will run the risk of losing the corrupted files.

Your financial institution has taken strong measures to ensure the security and safety of your account and its overall online banking system. By staying alert to potential security threats and keeping in mind the suggestions listed above, you can help us keep online banking extremely safe and secure. Follow the good practices and use the knowledge we've provided here, and you will be much more prepared to enjoy the conveniences of online services with peace of mind!

These helpful tips are provided by Digital Defense, Inc., a computer security company working with your credit union as a responsible member of the community to help insure the privacy and security of our nation's financial information.

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