Whether you use Windows— or not — there's some helpful info here for all of us! Don't miss the suggestions about thumb drives and external drives. Thanks to John Carter for the following detailed report! He starts with the news article. Feds: Infected USB drive idled power plant 3 weeks
" There are four ways to protect yourself from a virus:
1) Keep an hourly updated anti-virus app running continuously. Since any new virus won't be detected and a cure found for up to 24 hours, this isn't any kind of guarantee that a Windows OS won't get a virus.
2) Switch from Windows to any one of the dozens of Linux distributions. Linux is probably the most secure OS on the market simply because hackers know their return on investment isn't big enough to warrant going after it. There's just not that many Linux computers in use compared to the vast number of Windows computers. Still, installing an anti-virus app on Linux will give added peace of mind.
3) Switch from Windows to a Mac. Because Mac is based on Unix, it has the same low-profile for hackers as Linux. There have been recent viruses found on Macs in the past couple of years — maybe two or three — so an anti-virus app is now recommended for Macs for added peace of mind.
4) Stop using computers. (Now we know John is smiling when he says this! Read on for more of his report.)
"Still, this doesn't protect a computer when the virus is embedded in a brand new thumb drive or external hard drive that you just bought. So, another step in purchasing any thumb drive or external hard drive is to reformat it before using it.
"Is Linux or the Mac really free from attack? Many companies using Unix as their primary operating system get attacked daily, but mostly by hackers trying to find a way into the computer through some unguarded port. Hackers don't go after personal computers in this way, simply because there's no assurance that their efforts will return as much of a reward, but this doesn't mean they won't try.
"Any computer, regardless of the operating system type, needs to be secured with a firewall for protection against attacks from the Internet, and that firewall needs to be monitored constantly and updated frequently — which almost no personal computer owner knows anything about."
Well, it's time to come to the conclusion — for now — and John winds up with, "If everyone switched from Windows to Linux or Mac, the hackers will start going after them and we'll be back to grabbing at straws to figure out how best to protect our computers. But for now, either one is a better solution than using Windows."