Educational Articles

Protecting PCs With Anti-Virus Software and Frequent Operating System Patching

Our highest priority is protecting our Members assets and private information. While SchoolsFirst FCU makes a concerted effort to protect its own computer systems against virus threats through the use of anti-virus software and operating system patch updates, it is also important that each Member review their own home Personal Computers (PCs) to ensure they are protected.

Failing to have current anti-virus protection and not performing regular operating system patches is a leading cause of other banking customers having their home banking ID & passwords stolen.

What is anti-virus software?

Antivirus software consists of computer programs that attempt to identify, thwart and eliminate computer viruses and other malicious software (malware).

Antivirus software typically uses two different techniques to accomplish this:

  • Examining (scanning) files to look for known viruses matching definitions in a virus dictionary
  • Identifying suspicious behavior from any computer program which might indicate infection. Such analysis may include data captures, port monitoring and other methods.

What can I do to protect my PC?

It is extremely important that all Members ensure that their home personal computers employ virus protection. Since new viruses are developed all the time, be sure your antivirus software is up to date. Out-of-date antivirus programs are the number one reason PCs get viruses. Almost all anti-virus programs have automatic-update options. By enabling them you eliminate the need to monitor software updates yourself.

The following is a brief list of some of the more popular anti-virus programs available: Most ISPs (Internet Service Providers) such as Earthlink, Verizon, Time Warner, AT&T, Cox and others now offer free anti-virus and security software to their customers as part of their service, so please check with your ISP before spending any additional hard earned dollars. For Example, Cox Communications offers users it’s “COX Security Suite”, an entire suite of McAfee security software; and it’s all free.

Additionally, to prevent introducing viruses to your PC, never click on attachments unless you know the sender and you previously requested the information.

Operating System patching keeps your computer free of known flaws in your computers operating system. Microsoft’s Windows XP and Vista are examples of common operating system that may be on you computer. As flaws are uncovered, the operating system manufacturer (Microsoft for example) will make fixes, known as “patches”, available for users to download and install. Most of the current operating systems have an option to update the operating system automatically when patches are available. If you are running the Windows XP operating system, your system can be set to automatically update itself using “Windows Update.”

Failing to install periodic patch updates makes your computer vulnerable to any virus that was designed to specifically take advantage of a known flaw. Just like with not keeping your anti-virus software updated, not performing these patch updates could allow a fraudster access to your computer or the ability to record all your keyboard keystrokes (including passwords or credit card numbers). Your information can be stolen without your knowledge and awareness any time your computer is on if you do not have adequate security.

How to be sure my online banking transactions are secure?

Ensure that your system has a firewall enabled to protect against intruders. Again, Microsoft includes a built-in firewall in Windows XP. Many of the anti-virus vendors include firewall software in their suite of products.

Install an anti-spyware program such as Windows Defender ( or SpyBot ( to protect against malicious programs that can enter your system through a web browser.

By incorporating these tools into your PC, in addition to anti-virus software and periodic patching, you will significantly strengthen the safety, security, and stability of your system.

SchoolsFirst FCU does not endorse nor guarantee any of the products or services advertised or offered for sale by unaffiliated companies or their respective websites.

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