Computer viruses have become almost legendary in recent years as more and more people find themselves connected to the Internet. Even local and national news outlets have taken to reporting on particularly nasty viruses whenever they happen to appear. While it is true that a single virus can potentially infest your computer and wreck havoc, it is also true that you can take a number of steps to protect both yourself and the sensitive information contained on your hard drive. There are three main ways, in fact, that you can avoid viruses and keep your computer as safe and secure as possible. AntiVirus Software The main thing that you can do to help both protect against viruses and avoid them altogether is arm your computer with an antivirus software of some type. A wide variety software manufacturers produce fully functional antivirus software. If a malicious file is accidentally downloaded to your computer from the Internet, for example, the antivirus software will immediately alert you to the problem. The file in question will be quarantined and separated from your computer before it has a chance to affect the rest of your machine. If you fail to protect your computer with antivirus software, you are exposing yourself to a large number of ways in which viruses can affect your machine. You may think that you just downloaded a completely legitimate file from a completely legitimate website. If that file turns out to be a virus in disguise, antivirus software can step in and save the day. Without it, you could be corrupting the information on your hard drive or worse: opening it up for hackers and scammers to use as they see fit. Email Phishing Another way that you can void viruses is by educating yourself about email phishing scams. A phishing scam is one that is designed to trick users into giving up sensitive information like usernames and passwords. An authentic-looking phishing scam may look like an e-mail from your bank asking you to sign in. When you actually do sign into the linked page, however, a scammer could record your username and password and use it to empty your bank account or even to gain more information to steal your identity and cause you problems that even the best antivirus software won’t be able to fix. You need to educate yourself so that you can see these scams coming from a mile away so that you don’t fall into their trap. Pop-Ups The final way in which you can effectively avoid computer viruses is by avoiding pop-ups. Pop-up advertisements aren’t just minor annoyances – they are often an attempt by spyware, adware and various types of malicious computer programs to enter your machine. A pop-up blocker can prevent these malicious ads from loading. If you don’t avoid pop-ups, your computer could fill with malware and even the fastest machine could become sluggish to the point that it is unusable. By educating yourself about potential cyber pitfalls, you can avoid them and keep computer viruses off of your machine.