Posted by: Kristen Beireis, Trust Marketing Expert

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a virus on your computer.  I went through a week and a half of trying to remove a virus from my computer.  I first tried to remove it myself using my anitivirus software.  Then called the software company to get help from them.  After 3 days of phone calls and tech support, it was still there.  I called a local place who would need my computer for a couple days - my business is totally online.  Giving up my computer was out of the question.  How did I get the virus OUT of my computer?  I finally broke down and paid the bucks to have The Geek Squad come to my office and remove the virus.  A week later and I’m still virus free!! 

I’d like to share with you what I learned in this experience:

1) Backup System - I learned the importance of having a file backup system.  I spent 4 hours backing up all my files onto CD-R so I’d have them if we had to erase the hard drive.  I was talking with a techie person and they recommended “offsite” storage (like Carbonite).  You’ve seen the offers for secure online storage of your files.  That’s what I’m talking about.  Find one that has a way to flag the files you always want to back up and then you just login and click a button to back up your files.  Another option is “onsite” storage.  Like an external hard drive.  I now have a Maxtor external hard drive that I schedule to back up every day.  Offsite is recommended, just in case you have a fire or some other disaster … your files are still accessible. 

2)  Antivirus Software vs. SpyWare Software- Do you need both?  Yes.  Actually, I learned that having 3 programs is ideal.  Antivirus, Spyware and a freebie like Ad-Aware used together can create a safe environment for your computer.  Antivirus software is a great way to prevent viruses, but it doesn’t always prevent you from spyware that gets on your computer.  Spyware software will stop the spyware at the point that it tries to install on your computer.  Ad-Aware provides a different way of scanning your computer, with a different list of viruses and will catch some of the things your regular antivirus and spyware will not. 

3)  Browsers - Internet Explorer is the most widely used browser on the internet.  Therefore virus writers target IE the most.  Same with the most popular antivirus software.  Which is why a little known program like Ad-Aware is good to have.  Keep your browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari etc…) updated with the most recent version. Every version has new security measures so you’ll be more secure with the most recent version. 

I am spiffing up the protection on my computer now.  I believe that it is worth it.  Especially when there is confidential information on your computer.  Not to mention your own personal information.  Be safe and be prepared.


  1. 1
    don6698 // July 26th, 2006 at 12:57 am

    Hi, Kristin,

    Great article and a very much needed reminder to secure our computers! Let me add another freeware program you can check out, the Rootkit Hook Analyzer. As noted on the site, rootkits are not always bad (I think the IE7 Beta browser has a rootkit hook), but they can be used to install malware on your system without your knowledge. Here’s the link:

    You often need to turn off spyware and virus software when installing certain software programs, such as the aforementioned IE 7 Beta. I had all sorts of problems getting that to work until I actually wenmt into the startup control panel, disabled my spyware and antivirus from automatically starting when my computer booted, then rebooting my computer and installing the program. When I manually started the spyware and antivirus the automatic startup setting was reset.

    Lots of bother to stay protected! But IE7 is somuch more secure than IE6–it’s worth it to use it (although it IS still a beta release–you’ll have to make up your own mind about using it).

    Take care.


    Don H. Morris
    Memphis, Tennessee

  2. 2
    don6698 // July 26th, 2006 at 1:01 am

    Didn’t know I was automatically loggedin at, and that my username would sho up here. Good to know! ;-)

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