CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Most people have become accustomed to using computers for almost everything, from banking to shopping to keeping in touch with friends via social media.
Experts say routine maintenance keeps things running smoothly.
Running anti-virus software and regularly updating the software's "virus definitions," you can avoid many problems. The virus definitions (they may be given another name depending upon the software) are what keeps your anti-virus software current and makes it aware of the latest versions of viruses, malware and spyware out there.
Many legitimate websites can unknowingly pass along viruses, malware or "trojan horse" software. In some cases, you receive a warning screen alerting you. In some cases, you won't. Carefully reading the screen, and knowing the proper name of your anti-virus software will prevent you from falling for the fake "virus alert" screen that pop up on occasion, asking your permission to "scan" your computer.
Some well-regarded, free anti-virus software include:
Like hundreds of newspapers and television stations, WRCB uses a third-party vendor for our website hosting. WRCB uses a company called WorldNow. Not unlike commercial or government websites, WorldNow sites can be hacked or infected with viruses.
The vast majority of users on PC's still use Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Updating to the latest version is always a good idea, since many of the security holes are fixed as part of the newer versions.
Another option is to "break" the relationship between your browser and the operating system (Windows) by using browsers like Google's Chrome, Firefox or Safari. This adds a layer of security, but isn't a substitute for having a good anti-virus software package.
One step that's always suggested is to empty your "cache" and "history." These two areas are we information from web sites are temporarily held to make web pages load faster. This one little tip will make a huge difference on your PC.
And if you're a Mac user, don't be too smug. As the platform becomes increasingly popular, due to the iPhone and iPad, it will become a more desirable target for those people intending to steal your data.
Mac users can download a free anti-virus software as well: