How to protect yourself against the latest Gameover Zeus virus

Much has been written in the press lately about the latest threat to PC security, the Gameover Zeus virus.. Being qualified and experienced in the field of IT and Computing, I strongly feel that I must air my views.

Windows users more at risk

The primary target of these viruses are weakly protected PC’s running Microsoft Windows operating system. Apple Mac users are generally not affected by these viruses, as they are platform specific, but this is no reason to be blasé about security.

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself

NEVER open unsolicited email attachments from unknown senders

GameOver Zeus spreads itself via email attachments, and it forwards itself onto other people in your contact list. Do not under any circumstances open emails from anyone you do not know. Your bank will never ask for your personal information or passwords via email. This kind of activity is referred to as ‘Phishing’.

Keep your AntiVirus software up to date

It’s imperative that you keep your Anti-Virus software up-to-date, because new viruses are being discovered all the time, and the database that the AV software uses can be quickly out of date. Checking regularly for updates will go someway to combat this.

Basic, FREE Anti-Virus software may not be enough, especially for businesses

Which magazine recently commended Microsoft Security Essentials as an their top recommended Anti-Virus software, but it is not enough to protect against all threats. Recently, I had to deal with a virus on a users system that was using Microsoft Security Essentials and it did not detect that a virus was present, whereas AVG Internet Security detected it! If you are running a business, can you afford your customers data to fall into the wrong hands or be compromised? In my opinion, it’s worth paying for a full Internet Security package and paying the extra subscription fee for peace of mind, rather than relying on FREE basic protection.

Check for Malware as well viruses

Viruses are just one threat, but threats from Malware are also on the increase. Anti-Virus programs generally do not protect against Malware, so I would recommend using a program like Malware Bytes, or Microsoft Anti-Malware tool.

Make sure you have a FireWall running 

You can either use Windows own built-int Firewall, wich is an intrinsic part of the Windows Operating System since Windows XP and is enabled by default. Another option is to use a third-party Firewall, such as ZoneAlarm, or the Firewall built into your current Internet Security Package.

Enable the firewall in your DSL/Cable modem/router

Most DSL/Cable modem/routers now come with a Firewall built in, and are another line of defence in protecting your computers against incoming threats to your internet connection. If your computer does not have a firewall running, then you are exposed to all kinds of threats, and a malicious user could take control of your Windows PC.

Check your Internet Security with Shields UP!

It is possible to check what kind of information is offering up on this website http://www.grc.com and use the Shields Up! Tool. This tool is provided free by Steve Gibson of Gibson Research Corporation. He is an independent computer security analyst.

Use a strong Windows user account password

The worst thing you can do is use an unprotected Windows user account that will allow anyone full control over your PC. It is recommended that all user accounts on a PC are password protected, ideally with a strong password. Strong passwords contain at least one uppercase letter and numeric characters.

Archive your files

Keep all your important files, documents, photos, videos, etc backed up on a separate external hard drive, and don’t connect it to the Internet all the time.

Useful tools to help protect your PC.

AVG AntiVirus

I can personally recommend AVG anti-virus, I have been using it for around 10 years and I find it one of the best AV programs out there in combatting viruses. See my article here for more info

AVG Website: http://www.avg.com

Microsoft Anti-Malware tool: http://www.microsoft.com

Anti-Virus removal tools

If it transpires that your Anti-Virus program

Get Safe Online campaign

http://www.getsafeonline.org

BBC News story on this

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27681236

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About admin

Mike Gisbourne is an IT Professional/System builder from the UK with 20 years experience of PC building. Building PC's since 8086 days and Windows 3.1/95. Mike specialises in PC hardware, server administration, hosting. He is also a musician, keyboard player.