What is anti-virus software?
Anti-virus software is a computer program that searches your hard disk for viruses and removes any that are found. It only protects against what it already knows about. New viruses spread very quickly so you must update your anti-virus software regularly, on a weekly basis at the very minimum.
What anti-virus products are available?
There are many anti-virus products to choose from so it's best to do your research. Most anti-virus suppliers also offer a firewall product at little or no extra cost, and these can be set up at the same time.
You'll need to ensure your chosen product is set up to check for updates every time your computer is switched on, and runs a weekly scan. Typically updates take a couple of minutes and will happen in the background. Ideally it should also be set up to perform a full scan of the computer once a week.
What is spyware / adware and how to prevent it
Spyware is a program that secretly gathers information about what you do on your computer and quite often it does this without your knowledge.
In its least dangerous forms it is known as adware. Adware collects information about your internet habits on behalf of companies and can occasionally pops up adverts as you surf.
In its more dangerous form, it can act like a Trojan virus which is installed on your computer without you realising. You do not have to be connected to the internet to be spied upon, but once on the internet, any information gathered can be sent to the fraudsters spying on you.
Spyware removers, search out these programs in the same way as anti-virus and can also block those annoying pop-up adverts.
There are many free anti-spyware programs which can be downloaded and used to scan your computer for spyware and adware, like Ad-aware.
If you keep getting pop up windows all over your screen, you may have been infected with spyware or adware. You should run a scan like Ad-Aware or Windows Defender to detect and to remove it. Also, if you run Windows XP Service Pack 2 or newer, you can enable the pop-up blocker in Internet Explorer by going to:
- Internet Options
- Privacy tab
- Check the pop-up blocker box
The following external anti-virus products are available for both PC and Mac's, although they're not specifically recommended by Nationwide.