Viruses and malware’s are one of the cons of computer. The only way of staying safe is prevention. One of the threats of being connected to literally everyone else on the planet is the risk of getting a malware infection on your computer. While that is not the only threat, it is probably one that affects most people, from kids looking for comic strips to grandmas who just want to see the latest pictures of their grand-kids.
Someone might have said your computer could get infected with malware if you use or download pirated software or watch porn online. While it was true (5 years back), these days, you could get infected just by visiting random sites that you find on Google. These are called drive-by malware. Here are the tips I give to my customers and which has kept my PC infection free for the past 11 years (even without an antivirus software).
And specially people who are paranoid about their system security, or work online, these anti malware tips will be really helpful for you to stay safe online.
Malware Safety tips
Install an Antivirus
I did say I was safe without an Antivirus, but that doesn’t mean you will be. I know how to remove these pesky malwares and I took a risk so that I can harness that extra bit of speed from my computer. Consider how much you will have to pay or the data that you might lose if your computer got infected. Do you want to take that risk? You should still remember the following.
- No antivirus software will guarantee that you will be 100% safe, they just try their best to keep you safe.
- Don’t go for cheap antivirus. Some of the new Rootkits are pretty hard to remove.
- Don’t install multiple antivirus softwares. It will do more harm than good.
Install Software updates
In the late 90s and early 2010, there were news about how the computer would not boot up once a Windows update was installed. It didn’t happen that often, but the news spread wide enough that people started avoiding the updates. The times have changed now, and the chances of you getting infected is higher than your system crashing because of an update.
The reason why an update is released is because the version you are using has some bugs or they want to add more features to the software, but its mostly about those pesky bugs. And Microsoft is not the only company that releases updates. General rule of thumb is, if you have a software, it should be up to date, but the following softwares has to be up to date.
- Java (JRE/JDK): You probably don’t know about it, but it is there on your computer.
- Adobe (Reader)
If you want to know what other softwares are not updated, try using Secunia Online Software Inspector (OSI) which will tell you which softwares should be updated and also give you helpful links.
Use alternate browser
Chances are you are already using Google Chrome/Firefox, considering you read a tech blog. If you are still a die hard Internet Explorer fan, let me give you one more reason to switch to one of these best Internet browser. Internet Explorer is probably still one of the most popular browser. Some say it is Firefox, but I am guessing they don’t include the millions of corporate computers that use Internet Explorer. Chrome/Firefox were built with security in mind, where as Internet Explorer was there all along. Internet Explorer 9 is good when it comes to security, but I still prefer using Google Chrome or Firefox.
Use an anti-malware software
While some anti-malware softwares like MalwareBytes are closing the gap towards an Antivirus software, it is still different from Antivirus software. As long as MalwareBytes is not running in the background all the time (Paid version), it won’t cause a conflict with the Antivirus software that is already installed. Anti-malware softwares are much more aggressive when it comes to removing spywares, whereas Antivirus software are much more intelligent and could remove unknown and new infections. Download malwareBytes and run a quick scan. In most of the cases, this malware fighter takes care of basic malware issues.
Use common sense
Here is an e-mail that I received today.
Hey you won a lottery worth $459999. Kindly download the form, fill it and reply to this Email to claim your lottery.
This is one example of scam Email, spammer asks you to download a file which infects your system. So don’t open such mails, even if it says your life depends on it. Here are a few more tips.
- Do not click on install or run when you get a pop-up that you were not expecting. (Use pop-up blockers)
- Read the alerts and prompts that you receive and click appropriately. Clicking OK for all prompts will land you in trouble.
- Softwares offering unbelievable speed boost are just that, unbelievable. Check reviews and comments before you try a software yourself.
- If you go looking for porn, pirated software, keygens and serials, then you are asking for trouble.
- If you get pop-up stating your computer is infected with hundreds of viruses, no matter how real it looks, it is fake. Don’t try to find more about the “amazing software” that can help you remove it.
While the above tips will minimize your risk of malware infection to a great extend, you may still get infected if you are using a Windows PC. The chances of getting infected on a Mac is very low and on a Linux PC, it’s almost unheard of.