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As we all spend a lot of time doing genealogy research on the Internet and using the email facility to exchange information - it is important to ensure that you can do it safely by keeping the computer viruses at bay.
You may have read recently that a number of computer viruses are affecting computers running Microsoft Windows and other software packages. To protect your computer from attack, please follow the advice below.
Use a personal firewall
A firewall is a piece of software that can help prevent hackers from accessing your computer via the Internet. In simple terms a firewall can be viewed as being the lock and chain on your front door. When you are surfing on the Internet your door is open and the chain (the firewall) prevents intruders (or hackers) getting inside.
Regularly update your Windows software
Microsoft reviews their Windows software regularly and release updates or 'patches' to fix any known security issues, which viruses can exploit. In order to help keep your PC up-to-date, Microsoft have provided a facility where your PC can be automatically updated with the latest software patches.
Use an up-to-date anti-virus program
Anti-virus programs will scan files as they are opened and will check them for viruses. These programs are also regularly updated with information about new viruses, so it's essential to keep your program up-to-date to maximise protection.
The Microsoft Security and Protection site has the latest advice on using firewalls, Windows updates and anti-virus software. This site also features warnings about any new viruses and any additional steps you need to take to protect, or fix, your computer.
If you are on a Mac, check out the Apple security site for information on system and security updates.