Microsoft Canada Co.

Microsoft Canada Co.

February 02, 2006 10:52 ET

Canadian PC Users Turn to Their Local Geeks for Computer Security Tips

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 2, 2006) -

Month of February is great time to ensure that computers are secure and virus-free

Did you hear about the guy who opened an email attachment only to learn that it was really a computer virus in disguise? The resulting damage to his PC was so severe that he needed to hire an expert to fix it. Chances are you've heard of him - in fact, this may have happened to a friend of yours. Maybe it happened to you.

Many of us go about our e-mailing and Web browsing without encountering anything nasty along the way. But that doesn't mean we're not at risk. PC attacks are becoming more sophisticated with each passing day, and the risks they pose to home computer users cannot be ignored. Whether you're an avid PC user or you only hop on to see pictures of your grandchildren, it pays to be prepared.

The security experts at Geek Squad are conducting security seminars each Saturday during the month at Best Buy stores across Canada. Below are steps users of Microsoft software should take to help ensure that their next computer experience will be an enjoyable one, according to Geek Squad.

Use Your Antivirus Software

Your PC came with antivirus software installed - that's good news. But if it didn't, or if you haven't updated it since you took the PC out of the box - that's bad news. Antivirus programs are a crucial part of your computer's security system. They help protect you from viruses that attach themselves to a program or file in order to spread from computer to computer. These tools rely on regular updates, and if yours is out-of-date it's also ineffective. Make sure your existing antivirus software is active and current. If you're not using antivirus tools or if your subscription has run out, visit http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/downloads for some great offers.

Install a Firewall

A firewall helps protect your computer from online attackers and their creations. It also acts as a trusted agent by checking to see if you really meant to download a particular file, ensuring that nothing sneaks by without your knowledge. The good news is that users of Windows XP Service Pack 2 already have firewall features built-in. You should make sure that it is turned on by clicking Start and then click Control Panel. Next, click Security Center to find out the status of your firewall. Those who do not have a firewall can visit http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/downloads for firewall downloads.

Keep Current

Few of us have the time or the inclination to read and memorize the latest virus reports. Fortunately, you don't have to. If you use Windows XP Service Pack 2 you are already eligible for the Microsoft Automatic Updates feature. Once you determine how often and what time of day or night you want Automatic Updates to connect to the Internet and scan your computer for updates, Automatic Updates will automatically keep your computer current. Visit http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/update/msupdate_keep_current.mspx to learn more.

Rid Yourself of Spies

Do you find that advertisements are constantly popping out at you when you're on the Internet? Does your PC look and feel different, even though you didn't change anything? If so, you may have a spyware problem. Spyware is a general term used for software that performs certain behaviours such as advertising, collecting personal information, or changing the configuration of your computer - all without obtaining your express consent. Using Windows XP Service Pack 2 and running a firewall will help keep spyware at bay, but you should also install a good antispyware program. A great choice would be Windows Antispyware, which you can find at http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx

Geek Squad is partnering with Microsoft Canada to host free security seminars at Best Buy locations throughout the month of February. The seminars will commence each Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Security tips and tricks will be offered as well as a $50 CDN discount off of the Geek Squad's premium security services.

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