Your computer took a long time to boot up. You get some funny messages. You notice some unusual files. These are all signs that your computer might be infected by something known as malware, short for malicious software. Malware is a harmful code designed to get through your computer’s defense systems and likely try to steal your personal information. Luckily, there are things we can do to stop this from happening.
Antivirus and Malware Software
Preventing malware can be as simple as investing in reputable protection software like Norton, AVG, or Avast. Although you will get better protection from a paid-for service, there are free options out there. So, you can keep your devices safe no matter what your budget. Whichever direction you head in, make sure you install any updates, as this will refresh the database of known malware.
Scan Your Computer Regularly
We already know that it’s important to install some antivirus software, but there’s no point in it just sitting there. Although it will prevent incoming attacks, unknown viruses can sneak in, therefore it is important to schedule your software to scan your computer thoroughly regularly. This will give you peace of mind that your devices are secure.
We’ve all tutted at the sight of an update being ready to install, knowing that you won’t be able to access your device and you might miss Call of Duty with the boys. However, it is important to keep your system up to date so that your computer can be equipped to tackle any new viruses and malware lurking in the shadows.
Using a secure network means you have a layer of protection. Our devices send countless bits of information through wireless networks, and hackers will try to infiltrate your device if your connection is not secure – often planting harmful malware. The best way to avoid being attacked this way is to use password-protected private Wi-Fi to access the internet. For extra security, you could consider using a virtual private network (VPN) which will encrypt your connection and mask your IP address.
A Bit of Common Sense
You can use all of the software in the world to protect your devices, but if you don’t use a bit of common sense, then what’s the point? When you are online, avoid websites that you do not recognize. This is easier said than done with the number of bogus ads there are online – but if you hover your mouse over any ads or buttons you are about to click, it will tell you what the destination website is. Further, if you look to the address bar for a lock symbol, it means that the site is authentic and encrypted.
This is by no means an extensive breakdown of things you can do but, hopefully, it gives you somewhere to start. In a world where there are thousands of new online threats every week, there isn’t nearly enough protection – but we have to at least try and win the battle.