7 Tips for Avoiding Computer Viruses and Malware

7 Tips for Avoiding Computer Viruses and Malware offers suggestions to avoid computer viruses, hackers and malware programs.

I was going to write a post tonight about free photo editing software but instead I’m sitting in front of my computer monitoring the progress of Norton Power Eraser.

It seems I may have inadvertently contracted a virus or some malware program while attempting to locate the download site for one of the programs I was going to mention. Don’t misunderstand. The actual program is perfectly safe but it’s late here and I’d much rather be tucked into the comforts of my bed at this hour and in my brain-fried state (it’s been a long day), I clicked on a bad linkā€”or so it seems. (The scan is ongoing.) My anti-virus software suddenly presented me with a rather ominous red warning. All that was missing was a skull and crossbones!

Unfortunately, computer viruses and malware seem to be just a part of modern life, and as a cyber citizen who spends many hours online every day, you do get to experience a few things that you’d prefer not to, or you know of others who’ve been hacked or had some very difficult, even scary, issues that have cost time and/or money to resolve. According to the evening news tonight, “ransomware” is the latest thing to hit the internet. If you’re a fan of “The Good Wife” you may recall a recent episode that dealt with just that.

So, how is one supposed to tiptoe through the internet, exchange emails and files, and not ever “catch” anything?

Well, the first thing, of course, is to use reputable anti-virus software. I use Norton, but there is also McAfee. Microsoft offers free anti-virus software as does AVG.

Anti-virus software is constantly being updated to stay ahead of the viruses and it is important to have anti-virus software for your PC but this cannot always guarantee that you will never pick up a virus along the way. You need to be vigilant.

Here’s some tips about how to avoid acquiring a virus:

  1. Don’t open unexpected email attachments, especially if:
    • You don’t know the sender.
    • The files are executables, i.e. .exe files.
  2. Install operating system and software updates. Many of them contain security updates.
  3. Use a pop-up blocker on your browser. Many viruses and malware programs are transferred via pop-up windows.
  4. Don’t download and install programs from untrustworthy sources.
  5. Don’t click on links in emails if you don’t know what they’re for. Hint: If you run your cursor over a hyperlink without clicking on it you will often see that the actual link destination is very different from the hyperlinked text.
  6. Never reply to emails requesting your personal details unless you`re absolutely certain that the email is legitimate.
  7. And, when some dope calls you out of the blue and says he’s from Microsoft and he’s been told to contact you about your computer problems, laugh and tell him you don’t have a computer and that he must have the wrong number, like I do! These people are just scheming to access your personal details from your computer or trying to scam you for money.

And, last but not least, don’t write blog posts at the stroke of midnight and click on links, like I just did, that you know you shouldn’t be clicking on, when you’re more awake!

The scan is done and all is well. I’m off to bed folks.

Nighty, night…

Photo credit: Pixabay