How to Protect Your Computer From Virus and Malware Infection

 

Nobody wants to have a computer that is infected with malicious programs and viruses. Cybercriminals are constantly trying to find opportunities or vulnerabilities to exploit, and new threats are coming out almost everyday on the Internet. Unfortunately, these malware can go beyond your defenses even though you’re already taking precautions. Your antivirus software may be already out of date or has been compromised. There’s also the possibility that we clicked on a certain link and activated a virus by accident, or someone used your computer and may have downloaded malware onto your computer without his knowledge.

Here are some simple ways on how you can protect your computer from being infected by viruses and/or malware:

I. Avoid running programs that where downloaded from an untrustworthy source or doesn’t have digital signature.

Before clicking on the Run button to launch or execute a program on your computer, make sure you are fully aware what the program is, and always keep in mind if it came from a legitimate source.

Open File - Security Warning

Almost every computer user has seen this type of alert, and sometimes this warning message is ignored and people would just immediately run the unknown program or file without any kind of restriction.

Make sure to check the file or program you’re going to run by following these steps:

STEP 1: Scan the file with your antivirus by right-click on the file, and then select the Scan with option.

STEP 2: Scan the file with an on-demand scanner, programs that you can install on your computer and use it for scanning purposes such as HitmanPro or Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

STEP 3: Submit the file to virustotal.com, which is a site that will scan your program with the 43 known antivirus engines.

It is strongly recommended to run the file in a virtual environment like Sandboxie or Bufferzone until you can decide if the file is malicious or not.

II. Avoid keygens, cracks, and other warez

Avoid keygens, cracks, and other warez

Since keygens, cracks, and patches are the most common ways of getting your computer infected, it is strongly advisable to stay away from them. There’s very little quality control in the world of illegal software, and it’s very easy for a cybercriminal to name a piece of malware after a popular movie, album, or program to tempt you into downloading it.

III. Download files from trusted sources only

Knowing what and from where you’re downloading a particular file can make a big difference in reducing your computer’s chances of getting infected. Installing site advisors such as Web of Trust or Norton Safe Web will help you decide if the source is credible or not.

IV. Practice Common Sense While Online

With the freedom of expression, each entity found on the Internet is not guaranteed to be true. Anyone can publish information online, so before you even fall for a too-good-to-be-true opportunity just by filling up a form, trust your instincts and verify if it comes from a reliable source first. Scams like winning the lottery or getting cool gadgets will only tempt you to enter your personal details by cybercriminals.

Ignore emails or websites that promise you great prizes as there will always be a catch behind these deceitful content.

V. Keep your computer updated

Make it a habit to update your OS or software whenever an update is available because this can greatly help in reducing the chances of exploitation. You need to have a layered system protection since malware and virus threats are constantly changing and improving.

Below are some other quick security tips you may take note of:

  • Uninstall Java if you don’t really need it since this is one of the most exploited programs around.
  • Use complex passwords for your online accounts — Passwords should have at least eight characters and contains a combination of letters (uppercase/lowercase), numbers, and special symbols.
  • Do not open email attachments from unknown sources or files that are sent through instant messengers.
  • Do not give out your personal details that easily. Verify if the person who is asking for your information is valid or legitimate first.
  • Do not give out too much information on your social networking accounts — keep at least a part of your personal life private



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