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What are firewalls and viruses?

Last updated: December 1, 2016

What is a firewall?

A firewall is a barrier between your computer and the Internet, designed to prevent hackers from accessing your computer and stealing or damaging your data.

We strongly advise Internet users to install and use a firewall. It is especially important for Virgin Media broadband customers to install a firewall as their Internet connection is "always on".

If you’d like to find out more about F-Secures award-winning track record, you can click here to read more about what they do, and why they are one of the world’s leading providers of online security.

What is a virus?

Viruses are computer infections that can damage your computer and destroy your documents. They generally come from the Internet via emails and email attachments, but can also be picked up from websites.

What should I do?

Follow our tips for protecting your computer:

Install anti-virus software on your computer and make sure you keep it activated. Virgin Media has its own security program: F-Secure SAFE which includes anti-virus software called Anti-Malware. This is free to Virgin Media broadband customers for 12 months, so there is no need to pay for anti-virus software.

Keep your anti-virus software up to date. F-Secure SAFE anti-virus updates itself automatically by default, but if you have other anti-virus software it may not. Anti-virus software is completely ineffective at protecting your computer if it is not updated on a regular basis allowing it to recognise the latest threats in circulation on the Internet.

Install a firewall. You should keep your computer protected at all times with a firewall.

Install Microsoft updates and security fixes. If you use Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 your PC could be at risk due to vulnerabilities in the Operating System. As a general rule the latest version of Windows will be the most secure, but staying updated with ‘patches’ will greatly minimise risks.

Ensure you have email spam controls in place. Virgin Media Mail automatically catches many viruses as part of its spam controls so they don't even arrive in your inbox.

Do not open files with double extensions. Some viruses try to hide themselves by giving themselves double file extensions, e.g. virusfile.pif.bat. Any emails that contain such files should be deleted immediately.

Do not run .exe files. If you receive a file that has .exe at the end of it then it is an executable file (a little program). Never run .exe files unless you were expecting the file and know what it contains. Always ensure that you scan any such file with your anti-virus software before attempting to run it.

What to do if you think you already have a virus:

  • Run a virus scan with your anti-virus software. Use F-Secure SAFE, which is free to Virgin Media Broadband customers for 12 months
  • Take advantage of Web Safe by turning on Virus Safe to add extra security to your online experience

Please note that Virgin Media does not accept any responsibility for external links, or any third party software you install on your computer. We recommend you use F-Secure SAFE, free to all Virgin Media Broadband users for 12 months.

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