I have been receiving e-mails that have my Hotmail account as the sender. Does this mean someone has hijacked my account?
Not necessarily. What you see in the "From" address can sometimes have no bearing on whom it was actually sent from. To see the real information, right-click on the message in your Inbox, select "View message source" and check the Received From lines to determine the chain of IP addresses used to get to your mailbox. In addition, you can use www.ip2location.com to plug in the Received From IP address to get more information on the actual sender.
When you have antivirus or malware security programs on your computer, do you have to always run a scan with them to get rid of the bad stuff, or does just having them on your computer prevent viruses and malware from attacking? Do you do the "Quick scan" or the "Full scan" to get the needed results? How often?
Most antivirus/malware applications offer on-the-fly protection for both viruses and malware. And most offer "full scans" on a repeating schedule. "Quick scans" look for the usual suspects in the usual places. The full scan searches the entire computer.
The important thing is to make sure all your protections are active and up to date. That means "paid for" in the case of yearly subscription-based antivirus applications. I try to keep things as simple as possible, and my recommendation going forward is to use Microsoft Security Essentials (www.microsoft.com/Security_Essentials). It acts as antivirus and antimalware, and is free.
It is self-updating, uses minimal resources, is integrated with the operating system and has been getting great reviews. This, along with the built-in firewall that already comes with Windows and Internet Explorer 8 (along with common sense) is all that is needed to run a safe PC and keep you protected.
Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.