Once the performance of our hardware starts to behave unusually, our default response is to believe that it is a virus. Though a virus is always a possibility, more frequently than not the matter is a particular sort of infection called malware.
What preventive steps can you take against popular malware such as ransomware, phishing, and cryptojacking?
There are over two million distinct malware threats that are created every day. When you consider it, that is an extraordinarily tough number to wrap your mind around.
Malware is very prevalent, annoying, time-consuming, and frustrating, irrespective of whether it’s designed to give you a hard time or to hijack your browser or operating system.
Let us have a closer, more in-depth look in the seven ways you can avoid malware along with the difficulties which go with it.
Only Use Trusted Antivirus and Malware Software
Few people nowadays will use a computer, smartphone, or tablet without some kind of antivirus and malware detection program. In 2017, only 27 percent of Windows computers were unprotected, as a report by Digital Journal shows. However, not all those individuals use a trusted or well-known supplier.
Antivirus software such as Norton, Kaspersky, Comodo, AVG, Avast, and Webroot may cost you only somewhat more than self-described”free antivirus” software, yet have a longstanding tradition for being successful and recognizing security threats.
You will find free antivirus software downloads online, but do you need to trust your computer with just any sort of software? What’s more, many free antivirus programs are themselves Potentially Unwanted Programs (“PUPs”) and come installed with some sort of spyware.
Purchasing high-quality antivirus software is a small price to pay compared to the damaging hijacking or cryptojacking that could occur on your personal devices.
Important Note: Install software upgrades you get immediately.
Good antivirus software will go a long way in helping detect and remove malware, but it doesn’t help much if you don’t maintain the applications, and all of your other programs updated.
With the most current Google Chrome zero-day vulnerabilities announcement, some browsers remained exposed, even after the automatic upgrade was installed, since the browser wasn’t restarted.
So while IT teams can do a fine job of tracking, notifying, and adjusting security risks, they also need help from you. Hence, you need not just to install updates when they become available, but also to restart the programs also, so as to fully execute the upgrades.
Configure Regular Scans and Monitor Settings
In 2017, the Erie County Medical Center in New York was murdered, exposing private patient information and costing the hospital countless. The hackers ended up taking down their computer to get a total of six weeks. They could not do anything–all of the displays were blacked out. They ended up having to shell out over $44,000 in Bitcoin to the hackers merely to regain access to their own equipment.
And all this because it occurred simply they did not have any sort of antivirus software to prevent this from occurring.
While it’s meant to operate in the background, you still must handle it upfront. It’s a great idea to set up automatic scans to run every day or two or week to be certain that the program is doing its job.
If you realize that the performance of your PC is significantly reduced when running a scan, then do not run the scan as you are using your machine. Late at night, by way of instance, is a logical option for most people.
Finally, to be able to guarantee the scan runs, you need to be certain that the system isn’t turned off and can’t go to sleep or hibernation.
Always Update Your Operating System
All of the major software suppliers have their own operating systems, and each has their own antivirus defenses. Yet, they still need to perform upgrades on a regular basis to deal with newly-discovered vulnerabilities. While you might feel that restarting your system and upgrading to a newer version isn’t necessary, you want to know these upgrades are designed to reduce your vulnerability to possible exploits.
Security teams are constantly issuing new patches that fix malware threats and zero-day vulnerabilities. However, if you keep on using an older operating system–ignoring continuous request to upgrade your OS to a newer version–your computer is in danger of being infected with malware.
Getting educated about a computer upgrade is similar to hearing your in-laws are in town to go to. Although you might feel obligated to do it, at the end of the day it just appears there are far more enjoyable things to do.
If you set off them, the consequences could be a lot worse than disgruntled in-laws.
Take, as an instance, what happened with the Wannacry ransomware attack, where over 200,000 computers were compromised over 150 distinct countries, with total compensation that ranged from the hundred million to billions of dollars. With the appropriate antivirus software installed, this might have been thwarted fairly readily.
Rely Only On Secure Networks (Encrypted)
With the mass adoption of wireless technology in the past ten years, our personal information is continually being sent over public networks…and it isn’t always protected and we think.
You want a wireless network in your home which is WPA or WPA2 encrypted. Never broadcast your SSID to other people even when you’ve got trustworthy guests who wish to split the network. Rather, create a guest SSID and password for all those people.
Bottom line: if your system isn’t secure, you want to use a virtual private network. However, you can not just use any VPN. You will need to know what to search for in a quality VPN and, especially, you will need to check and be certain that the VPN you’re using isn’t logging your information, which some VPNs (typically free ones) often do.
In regards to street crime, you will find common-sense principles that automatically keep you secure, like never traveling alone at night, remaining in well-lit locations, and so forth. Likewise, the very same principles of self-preservation apply when surfing the internet.