Protecting Your PC

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Computer security experts say 2006 has been the worst so far for viruses and cyber crooks.

And they say 2007 won't likely be much better.

Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel explains exactly what you need to do to protect your PC from problems.

If you're connected to the internet, chances are, you're going to get something, whether it's a virus or spyware.

But, if you do, and your computer is properly protected... The software will take care of the problem for you.

"Security is important and you can get a lot of threats coming into the computer just by connecting it to the Internet," says Marcus Carrell from Best Buy's Geek Squad.

Experts say anywhere from three to four million compromised computers are online at any given time, even more reason to build up an immune system on your computer. You need three things: anti-virus software, anti-spyware protection and a firewall.

"I don't know that much about it, but I know this stuff takes care of the majority of stuff you need to watch out for," says customer Scott Reed.

That "stuff" to keep an eye out for are:
Viruses, they infest your computer through networks and e-mails and can wipe out important information.

And spyware, it finds you through the Internet, certain pop-ups or downloading programs and can attack your computer in a number of ways.

"It can do anything from stealing and monitoring information from your computer to basically re-directing web search results and web addresses to specific websites that you go to," says Carrell.

"There's pretty much anything and everything on the Internet that can do some sort of damage to your computer and your hard drive," Reed says.

And these impurities are easy to get by accident.

"You can just simply misspell and web address, a popular one, and end up at a site that takes advantage of an exploit within Windows," Carrell says.

But, don't worry, although viruses and spyware are more common and harder to detect, Carrell says "It forces the manufactures of the different protection software, as well as the manufacturer of the different operating systems and software, to be on their toes a little bit more and better safeguard their products and their users from attacks."

Experts say it's also a good idea to put your PC under warranty, to protect the hardware.

Look for one that offers accidental damage coverage, especially if you have a laptop.