Protecting yourself from a virus


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Protecting yourself from a virus

a bug under a microscope

What's coming up?

Getting a virus on your computer can affect how well the computer works. Thankfully, there are easy ways to protect yourself from them so that you may never have to deal with one.

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What is a virus?

A virus is a type of computer program that you may get if you download something from untrustworthy websites. Instead of receiving what you think you're downloading, you get a virus in its place.

bugs crawling across an open laptop
a bin, a share icon and some documents

What can a computer virus do?

A computer virus can do range of things to your computer, including:

  • Deleting or locking documents on your computer so that you can’t open them
  • Forcing your web browser to open web pages you don't want to open
  • Causing advertisements to constantly cover your computer screen.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid viruses.

Step 1: Think before you click

To avoid your computer being affected by a virus, you should only download from trusted sources, such as:

  • Websites of organisations you know or have a relationship with
  • Websites whose addresses you have checked are authentic, display a padlock and start their address with https://
  • Websites with a Contact page.
three indicators of a safe website
a cloud and a hard drive

Step 2: Keep a backup

Be sure to make copies of important photos and documents onto an external USB hard drive, a cloud account, or USB. You can also make printed copies if you have a printer.

With a good backup plan, you can still have access to your valuable information if your computer is affected by a virus.

If you are unfamiliar with the cloud, you can find out more, including how to back up documents, in our Using the cloud topic.

Step 3: Get antivirus protection

Make sure you have antivirus software on your computer. This will help defend against a computer virus infection and keep your documents safe.

You'll learn more about antivirus software in the next activity, What is antivirus software?

using antivirus software to scan a computer

Well done!

You've finished the Protecting yourself from a virus activity, and understand the three steps you can take to prevent having to deal with a computer virus:

  • Think before you click
  • Keep a backup
  • Get antivirus software.

You can learn more about antivirus software in the What is antivirus software? activity, coming up next.

a virus being attacked