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Hey! You sent me a virus!

Just when you think life is safe, your anti-virus is working and your PC is screaming along.... suddenly, your computer is slower than molasses in January. Could it be a virus? Get the information you need to know how a virus can decimate your system, eat your kids honors term paper, kill your ebay and PayPal accounts and more.

I came home and checked my email and in my inbox is an email from my best friend.  It has an attachment and the subject line reads:  Check this out!  It's really cool!  So being the trusting soul that I am, I do!  But no sooner do I open the attachment, and WHAM! My anti-virus pops up and screams VIRUS!!!!!

Now I'm hopping mad.  How dare my friend email me a virus!  So I don't email him back (because he's my friend and I don’t want to slam him). So, I call him up to yell at him.  What are you doing sending me a virus!  What's wrong with you?  Why don't you have an Anti-virus program running on your computer? 

His response, “I didn't feel like paying for the subscription.  It’s too much money.”

“So what?!,”  I said, “Now you're infected with a virus and spreading it to all your other “friends” in your address book.” I seriously began to evaluate whether or not he is a true friend, but then I think about his life.  He needs help.  He is vulnerable and He doesn’t even know it.

You see, my friend runs a home based business and he uses his computer constantly. Day in and day out, he is working on his PC.  Not only does he work for himself, but he dabbles with selling and buying on eBay and uses his PayPal account frequently.  To save time, he pays his bills online, banks online, even does some day-trading.  AND HE'S NOT WORRIED ABOUT VIRUSES?!?! 

Like many computer users today, he is out there be-bopping around, not paying a bit of attention, “saving himself a few bucks.” Not even close. The average computer identity theft takes a whopping 15 seconds, drains the victim to the tune of $6300, is not discovered for more than 60 days and then takes over 40 hours to fix. Don't be like my friend.  A good anti-virus is a pittance compared to that. It can protect you from loosing important files, accounting records, financial information, personal data, FRIENDS and much more. 

Viruses come in all shapes, sizes, flavors and destructiveness.  They can do something simple, such as attaching itself to your email address book and sending itself out. Viruses can be creative and write itself to the Master Boot Record on your hard drive, rendering your computer USELESS, and making it virtually impossible to recover and files you have stored on it. One virus can take you out of the picture, destroy your small business, your kids term paper and all your photos.

There are many different software companies who make Anti-Virus software and their prices are all relatively comparable.  You can decide which one you trust most.  There are others that are free (for personal use) and do just as good a job as the ones you pay for.  Either way, you need to make the decision to protect you and your computer, and act on it.

We are concerned about your computer safety and security at How To Use My PC and would love to help you make the right choice for your situation, in plain, simple language. The choice is yours.

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Dave Baughn is taking over networks in the Tri-Cities area of Northeast Tennessee with When not saving the universe, he teaches regular folks how to use their PCs at home. Be informed with, a FR*E newsletter packed full of basic pc tips.

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