There is an old saying that goes, “Prevention is better than cure.” In our use case, it is better to know how to prevent malware or viruses from entering your computer than having to remove them. Malware or virus attacks on your computer system can cause a steep decline in its performance. Being aware of this danger, we have compiled a list of security guidelines to protect your computer from malware/virus attacks.
This website helps you understand the basics of such malware as well. With these security tips, one will notice an increase in speed and stability without spending any money on new computer software or hardware.
Let’s dive right in.
Malware, also known as malicious software, is on its way to becoming one of the biggest threats for computer users across the world. A recent event where we have seen the severity of this cyber threat was the WannaCry attack which attacked more than 200,000 victims in about 150 countries.
Malware can be routed onto a computer in various ways, and one of the most common ways is when a user clicks on a link with a malicious installment or opens a sketchy software program. Once the malware is installed on a computer, the attackers can use it to spy on your online movements, steal financial and personal information or use your device to hack other systems.
Malware attacks have proven to be majorly profitable for cybercriminals, who are now using various old and new techniques to cause maximum damage to someone’s device. There are various types of malware available, with some being more harmful than others. Two hundred thirty thousand malware samples are generated every day – with each strain being more infectious than the other when installed on a computer. Botnets are a type of malware, which when installed on a computer, creates massive destruction.
Botnets are very versatile and adaptable, able to maintain resilience through strong servers by routing traffic through infected computers. Cryptojacking is another way of hacking into business and personal devices like computers, mobile phones, and laptops.
The technique entails using a blockchain network to verify transactions and earn cryptocurrency for this service). Another way cybercriminals use malware is via Malvertising- which describes the process of using advertising campaigns to inject malware onto a computer.
Know Your Enemy: What is a Malware / Virus?
Malware is a collective name for malicious software, including viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, ransomware, worms, and many others. Malware is software designed with the prime intention of harming your computer system.
A virus, on the other hand, is the most common type of malware. Viruses attack a computer system by attaching themselves to flash drive files and programs such as websites and emails.
Once a victim opens an infected file or program, the virus gets activated, and it may delete or encrypt files, modify applications, or disable system functions.
6 Security Tips that will keep Malware/Virus from your computer
Install an antivirus/ antispyware program and update it. Regular antivirus programs have the sole purpose of tracking virus signatures, and they can scan, detect and delete malware. Installed antivirus software runs in the background to provide natural time defense against viruses and other malware trying to enter into your computer.
Free and paid protection antivirus packages (McAfee, Symantec, Microsoft, and others) are available to suit your needs.
Here are links to the commonly used antivirus software:
- Microsoft Security Essentials
- Avast! Antivirus
Tips when selecting antivirus software
- Make sure that the application is downloaded from a reputable source
- reviews from other experienced individuals
- It should at least cover viruses, malware, spyware, and worms
- It should offer long term support
Keep your Firewall on, ALWAYS
Enable a firewall. It forms the first line of defense on a network. Firewalls monitor outgoing and incoming network traffic and block out traffic from malicious domains and data traffic from suspicious IP sources and ports.
Avoid clicking on unknown pop-ups.
These fake pop-ups and ads are a type of ransomware and adware malware. Cybercriminals use them to commit fraud.
When such unfamiliar pop-ups appear, quickly close their window and don’t click anywhere within the ad/ or any links that show up.
Protect your Computer from malware by implementing Email- security
It is essential not to open any emails from unknown senders. Cybercriminals usually try to exploit victims through email and phone calls. This tactic is called a phishing attack.
If you have reason to believe an email to be malicious, delete it. It’s not a good idea to open or download emails or attachments from unknown senders.
Keep your software up to date – this protects you from Trojan horse Malware.
A Trojan horse is a so-called delivery vehicle for other types of malware. It often appears to users as a helpful program like the game, but it has hidden attached malicious software that can be used to damage your computer system or steal your data.
Only run or download software from trusted sites to keep your computer safe against Trojan horses. If you’re unsure, don’t download it.
Use caution when visiting websites that promote free movies, music, or book downloads. Some websites have these features, but most of them are just a misdirection to send you advertisements or deceive you into installing malicious malware.
This makes sure that you are running the most current, bug- free and the most secure version of the software.
Scan USB drives before using them
Viruses are commonly transferred from one computer system to another using infected USB sticks. When you use a USB drive to transmit files between multiple host devices, you expose yourself to a possible malware infection.
It’s also worth noting that a USB flash drive malware isn’t like email viruses in that it doesn’t require you to click on anything; all you have to do is put an infected USB into a machine.
Always scan USB drives to protect your computer system. If you check USBs with antivirus software, you can determine if it is tainted with malware before using it.
Signs of a malware/virus-infected Computer
If you suspect that the computer may have malware/ virus infection. Look attentively for the following signs:
- Programs open noticeably slower
- Problems are connecting to the internet
- The computer freezes/ crashes
- The browsers’ search engine and homepage may look different
- New files randomly appear
- There are random pop-ups and error messages appearing
Viruses, malware, trojan it has got many names but is a threat to the PC or Mac
An antivirus software
Installing and running antivirus software on your devices is essential to avoid catching a virus from the internet. Cyberthreats have advanced, and routine activities such as online banking, shopping, and surfing the web might expose you to them. Viruses are a severe cyber threat, which is why it’s a smart option to maintain your gadgets virus-free. As you bank, buy, and surf the web, reputable security software can help protect you against phishing and other on line hazards.
Be careful with sending and receiving emails.
Before downloading an attachment, email clients such as Gmail and Outlook request your permission. It’s for a good reason. It can be risky to download an extension. Virus security is commonly included in email systems. However, infections in attachments can still make their way into your inbox.
Cybercriminals commonly use spamming emails to transmit viruses. They send out a large number of emails, including malware attachments. The virus might install itself in the background and start working as soon as it is opened and runs. This function can be found in the program’s Options or Settings.
Some viruses can attach to images in emails and install themselves as soon as the recipient opens the email. You can modify your preferences to only show photographs from reputable sources.
Make sure your operating system and programs are up to date. Tech companies release software upgrades regularly to make their gadgets or software safer to use. Cybercriminals can exploit security holes and force a device to download a virus if these updates are not installed. A software vulnerability is a name for this type of cyber threat. Even if you take precautions to prevent viruses on the internet, a software vulnerability could be lurking in the shadows of your computer. The only way to know if you’ve covered this risk is to do so. When a patch is available, update your software regularly. You can also set your machine to automatically accept updates.
Avoid questionable websites
If possible, stay away from questionable websites. Bad websites that constitute a cyberthreat will employ various techniques to infect your computer, including drive-by downloads, hosting harmful adverts, and tricking you into clicking on deceptive links. Avoid clicking on links to websites with unusual names, such as letters and digits that don’t look like words.
Avoid using software that has been pirated.
A free copy of a game, movie, or application which has to be paid for can be tempting. On the other hand, your computer or mobile device may be at risk if you download a cracked or illicit version of the software. Pirated software is frequently obtained from hard-to-find websites or peer-to-peer sharing, both of which feature people who may be hunting for their favorite movie or who are looking to distribute a virus.
It’s easy for a cybercriminal to put a virus into a free application because there’s no virus prevention integrated into what’s being downloaded. There may not even be any free software available – just a virus.
Install a pop-up blocker on your computer.
As you go about your everyday internet routine, many attacks happen through browsers. To secure your computer’s data, you’ll need an ad or popup blocker. It will stop any undesirable pages from automatically opening. If you’re unsure who it’s from, don’t click on it, open it, or download it. This is especially true with emails, which we’ll discuss next.
Limit your file-sharing
Some websites and apps make it simple to share files with other users. Malware security is often lacking on many of these sites and applications. Keep an eye out for malware if you use these file-sharing methods to share or download data. Malware is
frequently disguised as a well-known film, record, game, or program.
As we have seen, both malware and virus are significant threats to any device, be it a computer or a mobile phone. There is a dire need for users to safeguard their devices and safeguard their data from these cyber threats.
Over the recent years, there have been a lot of advancements in the cyber protection space. Users can now protect their devices by following a few simple instructions.
- The number 1 way to safeguard yourself from any data breach is to download anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Such softwares help update the security tools on your device while also removing any malware if detected.
- Users need to be safe when operating their devices, especially when logging in their information on the internet. You should enable Multi-Factor authentication on the device to prevent any malicious activity across the networks.
- Biometric tools like a voice recognition system, fingerprints, iris scans, and facial recognition need to be used to keep all accounts and information safe.
- There is a setting in the computer to log in as an administrative user. Users should refrain from using this setting unless they are performing administrative tasks like making configuration changes to the computer.
- It is a lesser-known fact that no software package is completely safe against malware. However, software providers often patch the software up with bug fixes and updates, which a user should also keep up to avoid any mishaps.
These 5 tips can go a long way in protecting users against malicious cyber threats like- malware or virus. Information theft can disrupt an individual’s entire life, so these threats should not be taken lightly and dealt with in a swift and timely manner.
We provided helpful security tips for malware/virus protection. With them, the readers can identify and remove various threats that slow computer systems down. Feel free to drop a comment below to tell us which of the security tips is the key takeaway you intend to protect your computer from malware/virus.