Malicious Software, commonly know as Malware, is something we’ve all heard about and unfortunately a lot of us have experienced it. Malware includes computer viruses, spyware, dishonest adware and other malicious and unwanted software. But how can we help to prevent this from infecting our own computers. I’ve gathered some useful tips and info to help you avoid Malware from finding its way onto yours.
- Use a good AntiVirus program. There are several free versions that work well, like AVG. Microsoft Security Essentials which is also free has had good reviews.
- Keep your OS and AV updated. Millions of rogue software and security holes in the operating system are being discovered. To help protect them the OS and antivirus manufacturer release updates for their products frequently. Make sure that you install those important updates. An out of date antivirus program does not help in detecting new infections.
- Install an AntiSpyware app to scan your system periodically. MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Free Version and/or SuperAntispyware Free Edition are good choices. You can run these manually every week or whenever you think you may be infected. This is used along side of an anitvirus program because no A/V program can detect all Malware.
- Use caution when downloading files from the internet. Be especially wary of screensavers, games, browser add-ons, peer-to-peer (P2P) clients, and any downloads claiming to be “cracked” or free versions of expensive applications.
- Avoid Peer to Peer sites. These downloads are often programs such as cracks and keygens and are one of the main reasons of infections. Another source of infection are pirated software that may be injected with additional codes and trojans that can harm your system.
- Browse responsibly. Sometimes you might not even have to download and install something but just open a website in your browser for a rogue program to infect your computer. So be careful where you go when you are browsing.
- Pay attention to your incoming e-mails, in particular to the object of messages. Some of them can contain viruses or content pointing to malicious sites. Don't click on links provided by false institutes that invite you to change password or similar.
- Do not open an e-mail attachment unless you know what it is, even if it appears to come from a friend or someone you know. Some viruses replicate themselves and spread via e-mail. Stay on the safe side and confirm that the attachment was sent from a trusted source before you open it.
- “Phishing” is not necessarily Malware, but is malicious at the very least. It describes scams that attempt to acquire confidential information such as credit card numbers and passwords by sending out e-mails that look like they come from real companies or trusted individuals. If you happen to receive an e-mail message announcing that your account will be closed, that you need to confirm an order, or that you need to verify your billing information, do not reply to the e-mail or click on any links. If you want to find out whether the e-mail is legitimate, you can go to there website by directly typing there address into your browser or by calling them.
- Use a personal firewall. A hardware firewall that sits between your DSL router or cable modem will protect you from inbound attacks. It’s a must for broadband connections. A software firewall runs on your PC and can protect you from both inbound and outbound attacks.
I hope these smart computing practices will help prevent Malware from finding you and will keep your computing experience as enjoyable as possible.
There’s one more tip! Don’t forget to backup your data. Your hard drive is mechanical and it’s not a matter of if it will fail, but when. Too many people have lost important documents and photos, among other types of data. This can be avoided with a simple backup solution.