Top 8 Tips to Protect Your Computer from Malware

9 Min Read

With the internet comes so many different opportunities, these range from online banking to surfing the web to socializing with friends. Despite all the positives, the internet is filled with cybercriminals, looking to steal and/or corrupt the data on your computer. So, it is most necessary to adopt or apply different techniques to protect your computer.

By getting malicious programs onto your computer, they can use them to gain access to your system, which they will then use to steal confidential data from it. That is why this computer guide article is created, to help safeguard your system from such attacks.

1. Be Cautious Of All Links and Attachments

Whether it’s a message from a friend on one of the many social media platforms or an email from someone you know, you should always tread with caution before you click on any links in the message or download any attachments. Malicious messages tend to look very similar in that they are usually very vague, such as “look at this” or “this will make you laugh”, accompanied by a link. So if you see anything that resembles that, it’s very likely a virus. You should also never open attachments from unsolicited emails.

One thing to keep in mind is that hackers and scammers know that people are more likely to click on links in messages from people they know. This is why they always look to compromise accounts, which they then use to send out emails to the contacts on the accounts list. This makes it difficult for you to determine whether or not the email is legitimate. You can also visit compuchenna website for more computer-related problems and fixes.

2. Backup Your System

Do you have a backup plan in place? Are you regularly backing up all your data? 29% of computer users fall victim to some form of data loss, which is why it’s important you have some kind of data protection plan in place. To protect your computer from malware, you want to protect your data in the event that your hard drive fails or your home burns down, or your home is swept away in a hurricane. If your data is valuable to you, then back it up.

When it comes to backing up your data, you have several options. The first is to use an online backup service, the second is your external storage device and the third is cloud storage. If you opt to use a service like Google Drive, then your data will be backed up to the cloud. Google Drive is free up to 5GB of data, after which point you will have to pay. But it’s a good service to start with.

3. Ensure Your Software Is Up-To-Date

Microsoft is constantly releasing new updates for its software. These updates are designed to fix bugs and vulnerabilities, ones that hackers would otherwise use to their advantage. Security loopholes are very common, with many software developers having to release updates, not just to protect their software but also to protect the system the software is installed on.

In more extreme cases, the government may get involved and request a certain software developer release a patch. Like what happened in the case of Java.

4. Use Complex Passwords

You want to ensure all your passwords are strong, which means, a password made up of numbers, letters (both upper and lowercase), and symbols, and if supported with special characters. While most people make the habit of using the same password across all their accounts, you should do your utmost to refrain from such behavior.

Research into user passwords has shown that the most commonly used passwords are in fact, ‘123456’, ‘password’, and ‘12345678’. You don’t want to fall into this category, as it will make you just as vulnerable as them.

When creating your passwords, you want to ensure it is no less than eight characters, you want it to be something that you can actually remember, you could go with actual words, but be sure to split the words up with symbols or special characters.

The best solution is simply to use a password management tool, as they can create and manage passwords on your behalf. All you have to remember is the one password you use, to log into the tool itself. Once you’ve logged into it, it will then get to work, automatically adding your login details to any website that you visit. These tools are handier today than they have ever been.

5. Seek Out Secure Websites

When surfing the web, you will find that a large number of websites still begin with ‘HTTP:’. However, the websites you want to lean towards are those that have the ‘HTTPS:’ (additional S) in them. If you use internet banking, do shopping online, or log into social media sites. You’ll want to ensure each and every one of those websites carry the ‘HTTPS:’ in the URL, as this indicates that the website is secure.

The site structure decides the number of domains to be secured with the SSL certificate. It can be a single domain, multi-domain, or any other type of SSL certificate. If the website is carrying unlimited subdomains then, a cost-saving wildcard or cheap wildcard SSL is required. Before purchasing an SSL certificate, you should check the website requirement.

6. Use a Firewall

Antivirus programs are designed to carry out a specific function, with firewall programs designed to accompany or compliment them. Both Windows and Mac-based computers come with firewall programs built into them. So it may be best if you start with them. Later down the line, you may want to transition to something else, but for now, they should suffice.

7. Download from Trusted Sites Only

Are you interested in downloading a particular program? The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out who developed it. Once you’ve done that, visit the developer website and acquire the program from there. Because this is most necessary to stop entering the malware into your system and protect your computer.

Additionally, you can try trusted websites like download[dot]com. Just keep in mind that cybercriminals attach malicious code to programs in order to compromise your system. So you want to ensure you’re getting the right thing, which is why the developer’s website is always preferable.

8. Enable User Account Control (UAC)

When User Account Control is enabled, it will alert you every time a piece of software is attempting to make a change to your computer. From which point, you can decide whether to allow or block the change.

To enable this feature on a Windows 7/8.1/10 based system, simply open Control Panel, by pressing Windows Key + R, then typing Control Panel into the Run box and clicking on OK. From Control Panel, type UAC into the Search Control Panel box, then click on Change User Account Control settings. From here you can determine the level of control you want, by moving the lever up and down. Putting it at the bottom, disable UAC, while putting it to the top, enables the highest level of User Account Control.

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