5 Tips To Prevent Malware Infection
Whether you use your computer, smartphone or other Internet-enabled electronic device for work, play or casual social networking, you probably spend most of the day with it switched on and connected – even if you’re not using it. Every minute it’s connected to the Internet, that device is under attack from viruses, spyware, worms and other forms of malware. How can you protect your system? Here are five simple steps to lock down your device and protect your data.
- Antivirus software
The first line of defence is always to install reliable antivirus software, because it ensures your device is protected at all times. Modern antivirus applications not only detect viruses, but most other forms of malware in real time, for instance when visiting websites or installing a new program.
Make sure your antivirus is configured correctly and that it is updated regularly, ideally on an automated schedule that does not require intervention or confirmation. This helps keep your system secure from all the latest threats, even while you sleep.
Bear in mind that the best antivirus software is usually a paid option, though there are some excellent free applications available as well. A quick search query and some research will turn up plenty of sites with comparisons to help you choose the right one for your needs.
- Latest software updates
In addition to keeping your antivirus software up to date, you must always make sure you are using the latest version of your operating system, with all security patches and updates installed. This is critical to protecting your device from new malware and in closing off newly-discovered vulnerabilities.
Don’t stop at your operating system, either. Make sure you keep all your installed software up to date, paying particular attention to security updates, to minimize the risk of being infected by something unsavoury. There are online services which will track software updates for you, though most modern applications come with automated updates built in.
- Beware of malicious sites
Although automated solutions are extremely effective at protecting your devices, the biggest security risk is still the same: you, the user. Even with the latest protection installed on your computer, you must be careful how you use it. Be especially wary of sites that offer pirated content, or that do not take security seriously.
Many websites carry malicious code that is just waiting to infect your computer, often without the site owner’s knowledge. Some advertising networks even pass malware through client adverts because they don’t check for malware before publishing. You must avoid any unreliable site if you are serious about preserving the integrity of your system.
- Do not use pirated software
People distributing pirated software on the Internet almost always have a hidden agenda. While it may overtly be a form of rebellion against corporate structures, piracy is frequently tied to making a quick buck at everyone else’s expense. And that means pirated downloads carrying malware that will infect your computer and steal your personal data.
For this reason it is always best to stick with official, paid software releases and avoid counterfeited programs altogether. If you do not have enough cash to purchase original software – which is the most common reason the average user downloads a pirated copy – there are normally starter editions available, with limited functionality, or alternative options. Both of these are a better choice than counterfeit products.
- Stay informed
It is important to keep abreast of the latest developments in the computer world. It doesn’t take long to scan the technology news for breaking stories about big virus problems, and this makes sure you have fresh information on the latest threats and how to best protect your device. If you’re particularly concerned about security, subscribe to the top blogs on the subject to get the newest information on threats worldwide, direct to your inbox.
Computers and other connected devices are an essential component of modern life, and they need to be protected from malware. With these five simple steps, you can effectively prevent the vast majority of problems caused by viruses and other malicious code on any device.