Malware is an unfortunately common occurrence, and it is easy to fall prey to it. There are various types of malware, including viruses, worms, adware, spyware, and Trojan horses. Malware is continually evolving, making it difficult to defend against. Nearly one million new malware threats emerge every day, so knowing how to protect your computer from malware is vital. Read on to know seven ways to protect your computer from malware-
The most important thing you can do to defend against malware is to educate yourself. Knowing what to look for and what makes an email, text message, or website suspicious is essential to keeping your computer secure. While malware changes frequently, there are consistent red flags that may indicate the presence of malware or other malicious intentions.
You are the only one that needs to know your password. Anyone who asks for it is probably trying to scam you. Be on the lookout for spelling and grammar errors, as these are common. Check the email address from which an unexpected email was sent. Consider an advertisement from a company that wants you to click a link to get a deal. The email address might look legitimate, but it likely differs by a few characters from the company’s actual email address claiming to have sent it.
If at all possible, avoid downloading files from websites you are unfamiliar with. Do not click links or open attachments in emails if you do not know the sender. Do not click pop-ups on websites if you can help it. Besides improving the appearance and utility of web pages by blocking benign but annoying pop-ups, pop-up blockers will also block the ones containing malware.
Websites offering something for free, whether it is online streaming of TV shows or PDFs of textbooks, are a haven for malware. It can be hard to distinguish malware from aggressive advertising, so be extra cautious if you use one of these sites. Many web browsers will show you the URL a link is pointing to if you hover your cursor over it, acting as an extra layer of security.
Use Secure Passwords
You should be using passwords that are both technically and physically secure. Technically secure passwords are long, unique, and hard to guess. Complex passwords are also more secure, but they should be easy for you to remember too. Sentences or phrases make secure passwords. Something like thelazybrownfoxjumps is a good password; TheLazyBr0wnF0xJumps! is a better one.
Balancing password security needs with your own can be overwhelming, mainly because you are supposed to have a unique password for each account. You might have dozens of passwords. If that is the case for you, it might be a good idea to use a password manager. That way, you only need to remember the password to the manager, not every single password you have. A password manager can also help you maintain physically secure passwords by eliminating the need for a sticky note on your desk with your email, Netflix, and bank password.
Use Anti-Virus Software
Anti-virus software does what the average person cannot. It is always vigilant and, if updated, aware of all the most recent malware developments. There are a staggering number of options when it comes to anti-virus software, even if you know what company you want to use.
Many companies offer different packages depending on whether you use Windows or Mac and how much protection you want. Products like Max Secure Antivirus offer protection for up to five devices and guards against various web threats, such as scams and frauds, phishing emails, etc.
Keep Your Computer Updated
Keeping your computer updated can help you protect against malware. It may seem like your computer needs constant updates, and that may not be very pleasant. However, timely updates are for the best. Many of these updates contain security patches. That means the company that produces the software has found a potential security failure, and the update is meant to fix it. If the company knows about the potential security failure, hackers and scammers almost definitely do. It’s essential to update your computer as soon as possible after being prompted.
Sometimes, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, efforts to protect your computer from malware fail. Depending on the malware’s type and severity, you may have to wipe your computer completely to get rid of it.
One type of malware, called ransomware, locks you out of your computer until you agree to pay the hacker. This can cost individuals hundreds of dollars. The ransom price for governments or businesses is much higher. Fortunately, you can avoid this issue by keeping a secure backup of all your files. That way, you can wipe your computer completely, remove the malware, and then restore everything as it was.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
If you’re not sure whether a link, file, or email contains malware or not, ask someone you trust for a second opinion. Whether this is a tech-savvy family member, a professional IT support service, or your company’s IT department, they would vastly prefer you err on the side of caution and ask before potentially exposing your computer, personal information, and maybe even your entire network to the malware. It is much easier to prevent malware from being installed than it is to remove it once it is entrenched in a system.
Technology is continually changing, which can make it challenging to keep up and stay safe online. Protecting your computer and, by extension, your personal information is worth the effort. Consider using some or all these ideas to protect your computer from malware for a better and more secure online experience.