Malware is more dangerous today than it’s ever been before.
Whether it’s ransomware or a performance-clogging virus, viruses today can ruin your day, your week, your month, or even your year.
Want to avoid malware infections for the rest of your (PC’s) life? Here are 8 tips that you should start following ASAP.
8) Update Everything
There’s a reason your software and operating system are constantly bugging you about updates. It’s a major security issue. Make sure everything you use is updated – like your browser, your extensions, and Windows in general. Typically, all of these programs will tell you when an update is available. Don’t waste time or ignore these notifications: install them as soon as they appear.
7) Enable Click-to-Play Plugins in Your Browser
Most malware attacks your PC through vulnerable plugins. In layman’s terms, this means someone has created a virus that exploits an old version of a plugin. They place that virus online then wait for someone with the old version of the plugin to visit the website. They won’t catch everyone – but they may catch a small percentage of users who don’t have the update. In any case, modern browsers support click-to-play plugins, which means websites can’t suddenly spring an infected plugin onto your PC. Enable click-to-play plugins and you’ll avoid 95% of malvertising problems.
6) Uninstall Old Software and Plugins
We just told you that old, outdated plugins are often exploited to give you viruses. That’s why you should uninstall old software and plugins you don’t use. This reduces the number of ways in which you’re vulnerable to an attack. This is particularly important if you’re running an entire outdated operating system – like Windows XP (which no longer receives any security updates from Microsoft).
5) Be Wary of Social Engineering
The reason malware today continues to be so effective is because of social engineering. This basically means taking advantage of how people think in order to “engineer” them to commit a certain action. Scammers might use social engineering to convince you that a scam email is actually from your bank, for example. Or, they may convince you of downloading a program to win a free product.
4) Don’t Call Toll-Free Tech Support Lines that Appear on your Computer
Microsoft has tech support resources available. As do Intel, Dell, AMD, and all other major companies. Tech support from these companies has one thing in common: they don’t need to alert you using scammy pop-ups. We’ve seen a growing trend of scammers posting fake pop-ups in web browsers alerting users to call a certain toll-free tech support number to fix their computer problems. This is always a scam.
3) Use a Secure Connection Wherever Possible
There are still people out there who don’t understand the importance of HTTPS – a secure connection. Basically, HTTPS means that all data sent between you and the server is encrypted the entire way. If someone intercepts this data, they won’t be able to read it because it’s encrypted. HTTPS is available on all major social media platforms and banking websites. It’s not an option when you’re handling personal information: it’s a necessity. Watch out for the https when web browsing and consider using an extension like HTTPS Everywhere.
2) Use Anti-Malware Software
Not to brag here, but using anti-malware software like our own is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of malware. Total System Care is an effective (and constant) protective barrier between your computer and dangerous malware. It’s not going to detect 100% of all online threats, but it can spot problems that are already on your computer. If something “just feels wrong” with your PC, consider giving it a scan with Total System Care or similar software.
1) Remember that Nothing is Free on the Internet
One of the best things to remember about avoiding malware problems on the internet is to remember that nothing is free on the internet. Nobody is just going to give you something without expecting something in return – even if that “something” is just an email address. If you can remember that lesson, then you’ll be significantly less likely to fall for scams – and the malware that’s associated with these scams.