Are you always getting viruses and malicious programs on your computer? Follow these tips to avoid any more intrusions.
1. Don’t click on everything. Pages are filled with banners, ads and links, designed to catch your attention. Malware normally strikes if you take action and click on the ads yourself.
2. Configure your browser to not accept automatic downloads. This will allow you to accept everything you want on your computer, rather than it downloading and running a file silently in the background without your knowledge. You are far less likely to get infected.
3. Don’t click on popups. Many popups look like legitimate advertisements, especially for anti-virus software. You will find aggressive advertisements that say “download”; however, some popups look like legitimate alerts, showcasing an anti-virus software that has detected an alert on your computer. Clicking the popup will most likely download an adware. Use the Task Manager instead of pressing the red “X” to close the popup. Even better, configure your browser to block popups.
4. Clear the cache. By clearing your browser’s cache, you are removing popup history and temporary files.
5. Try a different browser. Are you getting a lot of popups on Internet Explorer, Netscape or Safari for Windows? Try Firefox, Opera or Chrome. They are more secure, and come with a wide library of pop-up blockers and security features.
6. Avoid browsing on illegal sites. Sites that allow you to download copyrighted material and other illegal actions have many popups, advertisements and fraudulent files. They could all lead to a virus or an infection.
7. Check your URLs. If you are logging into an online account or making a purchase, the URL should begin with https://, not http://. This shows the information is being encrypted while it is crossing public servers.
8. Only download files you really need. Research the source thoroughly and see if you already have another program that can do the task. Downloading extra programs increases your risk of downloading malware.
9. Use trusted websites. Developer sites, and sites specifically built and evaluated by teams of experts (ex. CNET) are safer locations than illegal download libraries.
10. Look at the extensions. Many malicious files will have a double extension, such as “.txt.vb” or “.txt.exe.”. This is a problem, because Windows will normally hide the file extensions. To change this, go to Windows Explorer -> View tab/menu -> Options. Click the View tab in the Folder Options window, and uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types”.
11. Scan your downloaded files. Test them with anti-virus program before installing. This includes ZIP files and email attachments.
12. Don’t open every downloaded file or email attachment. Many worms will only attack once you’ve installed or run the file. If you don’t trust the source, don’t open it.
13. Don’t download attachments from sources you don’t know. Never click on a link or open an attachment from a source you don’t know. This is the how viruses spread the most.
14. Don’t download attachments from trusted sources unless you are expecting it. Double-check with the sender to make sure the attachment is legitimate. If that person’s email is hacked, you could receive a fake “hello” email or a pre-set message that is hiding a virus or a malware.
16. Beware of odd emails from familiar companies. You may receive an email on behalf of a major company you have done business with, such as Ebay, Amazon, or FedEx. However, many of these emails are phishing scams, trying to get you to give away personal information through malicious links or fake websites. Legitimate companies will not ask you for passwords or personal information through emails. Before clicking on a link, look at the URL to make sure it goes to a trusted source before clicking it, by hovering your mouse over the link.
17. Read the license agreement. Sometimes, the agreements will make a small mention to installing and running a spyware or other malicious software on your computer. Read the legal documentation before installing a program.
18. Install an anti-virus program. We have a great anti-virus solution at Quartet. Keep this anti-virus program updated at least once a week, and only install one at a time.
19. Install an anti-spyware program. When you get infected with spyware and adware, they are hard to remove from the computer. Furthermore, they are usually missed by the anti-virus scans. Also, you can run more than one anti-spyware program at a time.
20. Use a firewall. Keep your firewalls active, as they are one of your greatest protectors from intrusions and attacks.
21. Update Windows. Viruses and intruders often exploit holes in Windows, and Microsoft reacts quickly to patch them. Set Windows to update automatically to keep yourself protected and up-to-date.
22. Scan USB drives before using them. They’re a popular vehicle for sharing malicious software. You could infect your own computer, or public computers can infect your USB.
23. Be wary of remote access. Many remote access programs are bugged to be exploited by hackers, ex. Blackshades. If you need to use remote access, download a program from a trusted source.
24. Backup. In the event you have to reformat your entire computer, a good backup will make sure you can fully recover and restore your files, and it will reduce, or alleviate, any damage done by a virus.Sources: Wikihow, BBC, McAfee, Microsoft