As a computer user, you may have to deal with malware from now and then in your daily life, since malware has become so pervasive on the internet. It is not fun; it is annoying. It may take you a lot of time and energy to remove malware that damages your machine. Hence, it is necessary that you know what actions you can take to prevent malware from infecting your computer. This article outlines the top 5 tips to prevent malware infection.
1. Keep your operating system current with the latest security updates.
No matter what type of operating system you are running on your computer, Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, or any other OS, you need to keep it up-to-date. OS developers always release security patches that fix the security leaks so as to prevent malware from taking advantage of those leaks to attack users’ computers. If you do not install the patches timely, your computer may be compromised by malware. Typically, you operating system may have been set to look for updates automatically, but it is still suggested that you regularly check whether this function is running properly. This tutorial will show you how to update your operating system.
2. Install quality antivirus software and keep it up-to-date.
Installing and running quality and up-to-date antivirus software is an effective way to help protect your computer from malware attacks. Generally, antivirus software is used to secure a computer from being attacked by malware like viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. It also helps detect and remove malware from the infected computers.
Here we need to emphasize the “up-to-date”. Antivirus software can only effectively work, if it is updated to cope with the latest malware circulating on the Internet. Even though you have installed the best antivirus software, your computer may still be attacked by malware, if you do not update it regularly. Most antivirus software has a feature of downloading updates automatically when you are online. If not, it may pop up message, reminding you to install the updates. Just allow it to update, if you are prompted to do so.
If you cannot afford a paid antivirus product, consider using a free one which is from a reputable and reliable source. Free anti-virus software is better than nothing. But keep in mind that it’s not the best solution. Free antivirus software generally only searches your computer using signature-based detection which involves looking for patterns of data that are known to be related to already-identified malware; while paid antivirus software will include heuristics to catch new, or zero-day threats, by either using genetic signatures to identify new variants of existing virus code or by running the file in a virtual environment (also called a sandbox), and watching what it does to see if it has malicious intent.
3. Enable a firewall when you are online.
Each operating system has its own firewall to block the malicious attacks from the online world. Without a firewall, your computer is operating with an “open door” policy and hackers could easily intrude your system and access the data and information stored on your computer. So, it is always a good idea to use a firewall and also ensure that it is running while you are online.
Bonus: Apart from using the built-in firewall, you can also consider downloading and installing other advanced firewalls such as ZoneAlarm.
It has some special features as followings:
It makes you invisible to hacker tools.
It outsmarts the most sophisticated hackers.
It must catch bad guys even if they sneak past the firewall.
4. Adjust your web browser settings for safer internet surfing.
Believe it or not, there is a great deal of malware attacks users’ computers via taking advantage of vulnerable web browsers. Therefore, it is vital that you configure the web browser installed on your PC securely. Each browser has its own feature where you can adjust the security settings so as to maximize its ability to prevent malware infection. If you consider that your web browser is not set up in a secure default configuration, then you can follow the guides here to adjust the settings.
5. Pay attention to your online behaviors.
No matter you are a teen or an adult, if you want to keep your computer safe, you need to be careful when you are online. Some online behaviors could lead to some unwanted problems, such as malware infection. Hence, it is needed that you pay attention to your online behaviors. The following Do’s and Don’ts can serve as good guidelines to follow when you are surfing the Internet.
Don’t click on unsure links in spam email messages or open the spam email attachments, unless you are sure that they are safe.
Don’t download software from sites you don’t trust, or you may be exposing your computer.
Don’t open the questionable links or accept the suspicious files (with the following extensions. .exe, .pif, .com, and .src) sent by strangers when using the IM applications.
Don’t visit ad-heavy websites, gambling websites, pornography websites and other unsafe sites, since those may contain links that lead to downloading of malware.
Don’t click on bogus ads or coupons, for you might be redirected to some malicious sites.
Close the unexpected and doubtful dialog boxes by carefully clicking the “X” icon instead of clicking on the “No” or “Cancel” button.
Scan all incoming email attachments or any other file that you are going to download.