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Practice Safe Internet  
Knowing how you can get infected and what types of files and sites to avoid will be the most crucial step in keeping your computer malware free. The reality is that the majority of people who are infected with malware are ones who click on things they shouldn't be clicking on. Whether these things are files or sites it doesn't really matter. If something is out to get you, and you click on it, it most likely will.
Below are a list of simple precautions to take to keep your computer clean and running securely:

  • If you receive an attachment in an email, DO NOT OPEN IT! Simple as that. Opening attachments from people without verifying what is in it is a very common method for viruses or worms to infect your computer.

  • If you receive an attachment and it ends with a .exe, .com, .bat, or .pif do not open the attachment unless you know for a fact that it is clean. For the casual computer user, you will almost never receive a valid attachment of this type.

  • If you receive an attachment from someone you know, and it looks suspicious, then it probably is. The email could be from someone you know who is themselves infected with malware which is trying to infect everyone in their address book.

  • If you are browsing the Internet and a popup appears saying that you are infected, ignore it!. These are, as far as I am concerned, scams that are being used to scare you into purchasing a piece of software.
    There are also programs that disguise themselves as Anti-Spyware or security products but are instead scams.

  • Another tactic to fool you on the web is when a site displays a popup that looks like a normal Windows message or alert. When you click on them, though, they instead bring you to another site that is trying to push a product on you, or will download a file to your PC without your knowledge. You can check to see if it's a real alert by right-clicking on the window. If there is a menu that comes up saying Add to Favorites... you know it's a fake. DO NOT click on these windows, instead close them by finding the open window on your Taskbar, right click and chose close.

  • Do not visit pornographic websites. I know this may bother some of you, but the fact is that a large amount of malware is pushed through these types of sites. I am not saying all adult sites do this, but a lot do, as this can often form part of their funding.

  • When using an Instant Messaging program be cautious about clicking on links people send to you. It is not uncommon for infections to send a message to everyone in the infected person's contact list that contains a link to an infection. Instead when you receive a message that contains a link you should message back to the person asking if it is legit.

  • Stay away from Warez and Crack sites! As with Peer-2-Peer programs, in addition to the obvious copyright issues, the downloads from these sites are typically overrun with infections.

DO NOT INSTALL any software without first reading the End User License Agreement, otherwise known as the EULA. A tactic that some developers use is to offer their software for free, but have spyware and other programs you do not want bundled with it. This is where they make their money. By reading the agreement there is a good chance you can spot this and not install the software.
Sometimes even legitimate programs will try to bundle extra, unwanted, software with the program you want - this is done to raise money for the program. Be sure to untick any boxes which may indicate that other programs will be downloaded.