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TECH TIP:  How to stay clear of viruses in 2004.

According to the Virus Information Library (http://vil.nai.com), there are more than 81,000 active virus threats today.  Don't be a virus casualty!  Here's some tips to follow to avoid being infected.

**  Have active virus protection on your computer.  Norton Antivrus is probably the best.  But a good FREE antivirus software is AVG Antivirus.  You can download it FREE from here.  http://www.grisoft.com/us/us_dwnl_free.php

**  Don't open attachments from unknown people.  And be suspicious of all attachments - even people you know - that's why you need the antivirus software.  (Note:  You can't get a virus from an attachment if you don't open it!).

**  Be careful what you open.  These extensions DO NOT carry viruses:  jpeg, .pcx, .gif, .png, .bmp .txt, .pdf, & .rtf.   These extensions DO carry viruses:  .htm, .html, .exe, com .xls, .doc, .dot, .wbk, .wpm, .ppm.  But - you cannot get a virus from them if you don't open them.

**  Don't visit websites that are"offbeat" or "off the mainstreet."  They might seem fun and entertaining but you can get a host of problems from them, including spyware, annoying ad popups attached to you web browser (called adware), unwanted toolbars, and, of course, viruses.   Don't click on any link in an email unless you are positive about its authenticity.  Practice "safe surfing." 

**  Keep current with patches and updates from Microsoft's website.  Check peridoically for updates for your web browser and system software. http://www.microsoft.com/security/

**  Don't share floppy disks unless you know for sure what's on the disk.  This is a very common way to spread viruses.

**  Backup all important data files on your hard drive. 

**  Get a Mac - there are fewer that a dozen viruses for the Macintosh - none of them very dangerous - and none yet for OS X.  (Well - maybe that one's not such a great idea for some of you!)

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