Avoid Trouble - Keep your computer healthy!
The tech support team at GoCom Canada Inc receive many troubled calls which could have been avoided with preventative maintenance on the user side. We hope you will have a more pleasant internet experience by following the advice provided.
All links to suggested updates and downloads contained in this document are provided here for your convenience:
Protect yourself against viruses
Viruses are malicious pieces of software written by soulless programmers who take pride in outwitting or just blatantly destroying computer systems. They have inexhaustible time to create new viruses and methods to infect the world. Understand that viruses are man-made and do NOT randomly appear by accident.
Most viruses are made to attack Microsoft Windows. Other operating systems such as Linux and MacOS are also capable of receiving a virus, but since most people run Microsoft Windows and some programmers have a personal vendetta against Microsoft, most viruses are made to attack Microsoft Windows. For this reason, anyone running Windows should have a virus scanner. Also, since new viruses are always emerging, then you should regularly update your virus definitions. If your virus scanner is out of date or you have no virus scanner, we strongly suggest you download a free virus scanner such as avast! right away. See avast! by ALWIL Software.
The perfect computer is safe from viruses unless the user allows the virus entrance. As problems are found (called bugs), manufacturers create fixes and release them as updates. Some viruses are designed to take advantage of bugs in software to allow themselves entrance with NO action required by the user. These viruses are stopped from entering when the right update is applied to fix the bug. So a part of protecting yourself from viruses is to keep your computer updated. If you are running Windows, go to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com to update your computer.
Since viruses depend on communication between computers to spread, historically before people attached themselves to networks, the only way to receive a virus was on a floppy disk passed from one computer to another. Today, the majority of viruses are spread through email. In an attempt to protect our customers, GoCom Canada Inc scans email hosted on our servers. Note, if you use another provider for email, such as hotmail, then you are relying on their protection. Since new viruses are continually being developed, there is always the possibility for an unknown virus to be sent to your computer. Viruses that travel through email still need you to do an action to infect your computer, so taking some common sense precautions will avoid many problems. If the email looks suspicious then delete it. Before opening an attachment, be sure you know what the attachment is.
In the past, there have been email viruses that will infect your computer by just looking at the email. Microsoft has fixed their bug causing this vulnerability which is available as an update from http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com. Today, if you have updated your computer, you should be able to look at your email with NO concern of getting infected. The ONLY risk of being infected from email is if you open the attachments.
The only other bread of viruses you need to be concerned about are worms. Worms ONLY spread through computers that have security holes in their software. If you keep your computer updated, then you should be safe from worms. All a worm requires to infect your computer is that you are connected to the internet AND your computer has a security hole. Security holes are usually caused by bugs or changing the configuration of your computer. Computers from the manufacturer with all the latest updates installed should be safe from worms. To be more cautious would require only connecting to the internet as required and to have a firewall between the computer and internet. Before investing in a firewall, make sure you update your operating system. Many problems that firewalls prevent can just as well be solved by having a properly configured computer with all available updates applied.
If you want to use a firewall, we strongly suggest you buy a hardware firewall as opposed to a software firewall on your computer. In our experience, many times the software firewall becomes the source of problems. Also, only by placing the firewall outside the computer do you truly separate traffic so it never enters your computer.