Before you spend a lot of time and effort trying to remove a virus or fix your computer, you should decide if it is for real. Even though the media does not like to report on it, a large percentage of the so-called computer viruses out there are hoaxes in Related Site To make matters worse, a lot of what you hear about cyber crime, malware, viruses, etc. is actually hype and hysteria.

There are several reasons why this occurs. The first is that a lot of people make a lot of money off of computer security: Antivirus program makers, cyber security experts, etc. Not surprisingly, these people want to scare you to death, so you will pull out your credit card and start buying their products. So be leery of any sort of paid expert who says he knows how to protect your computer.

The second reason why this occurs is the media. Journalists make their living by cooking up sensational stories and headlines designed to attract your attention. A story with the headline: “Computer Virus a Fake” would not attract many readers beyond IT geeks. A story with the headline: “Virus will Destroy your Computer” will get a lot of readers. Guess which one the average editor who needs to keep his click rate up is going to put on his Web site TricksInsider?

Learning to tell the Real Deal from the Fakes

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There are some ways to tell viruses from the fakes. The first and probably best is to simply keep your antivirus software updated. A good antivirus program like Avira Antivirus or Cobra Antivirus should be set up to catch most current viruses. They also have pages detailing current hoaxes. Go to their Web sites and take a look.

Most antivirus sites also list current viruses going around somewhere. Chances are, if you do not see a virus or malware listed on their site, it probably is not real. There are also some sites out there that track the real threats. has a lot of good information and a list of virus hoaxes. does a really good job of tracking the current Internet hype and separating the humbug from the real threats. or Threat Explorer is maintained by Norton, one of the biggest antivirus companies. It contains a long list of hoaxes. It also contains a long list of the real threats. Wikipedia’s Virus Hoax page also contains a comprehensive list of virus hoaxes. I know net bashers like to say Wikipedia is a bad source of information. Well, they’re wrong; Wikipedia is a better and more accurate source of information than most Technology Media journalists.
Generally, if something is a hoax, it should be listed at one of these places. If it is for real, it should probably be listed at Threat Explorer along with the fix for it.

Do Not Believe E-mail, Tweets Etc.

Also, do not believe e-mails and tweets that claim to be warning you about new viruses or Malware; most of these are threats. Malware that masquerades as a fake antivirus is an old hacker’s trick that is widely used because it still works. Be careful because a lot of the virus warnings are actually an attempt to load a new virus or malware onto your desktop.

Any e-mail that describes a super virus that is about to eat your desktop and burn your house down is probably a fake. The best thing to do with such rubbish is to ignore it and trash it. Your e-mail has a delete button for that reason. Do the same with similar warnings that come in over Facebook, Twitter, etc. If you keep getting these warnings from somebody, de-friend them. That person is definitely not your friend.

Perform the Computer Security Basics

It is always a good idea to perform computer security basics. If you think any sort of virus has infected your computer, run a scan with your antivirus program. It should pick up 99% of the viruses and kill them. Having two antivirus programs installed is always a good idea. Run both of them. Before you run the scan, make sure that you download all the updates.

If this does not work, go to one of the good antivirus sites and check the list of known viruses. This site has a long list of viruses and fixes for them:

Microsoft still has some of the best security resources around, including regular security updates that identify the real threats and how to stop them. Visiting its security center is a good idea; Microsoft also has lots of free security stuff available for cheapskates and those of us who may want more important things to spend our money on like rent, food and World of Warcraft subscriptions.

They actually update this site almost every day, so it is one of the best security resources around. It is also one of the most useful security resources for Windows users.

If a virus is real, one of the standard Internet security resources should list it and provide a fix for it. If you cannot find a fix for it, the virus is probably a fake. Something to remember is that cyber criminals probably won’t be targeting your computer. Do you have any important data on it that they can sell or a bank account with several million dollars in it? If the answer to these questions is no, the hackers probably have no interest in you. Like other crooks, cyber crooks go to where the money is.