Shut Computer Viruses Down Before They Start!

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Shut Computer Viruses Down Before They Start!

There is hope!

Computer viruses are scary. Most of us don’t know where they come from, or how to get rid of them before they send our bank information to a hacker or steal and delete our family photos right out from under us. Using your computer to explore the internet doesn’t need to be scary, though! Here are a few quick and easy steps to keep yourself safe from the cyber boogeyman.

Protect yourself.

The cyber world is full of opportunities for hackers to craft bespoke viruses and release them to simply wreak havoc or steal your information. Thankfully, there are trusted companies producing excellent free and paid antivirus applications to keep your systems clear of viruses and malware—use them! Downloading and consistently using virus protection software is a huge step in defending yourself and your data from attack. This is an excellent first step that will drastically improve your chances to fight off a nasty virus!

Update. Update. Update.

Update notifications can be annoying and intrusive, but they could also save you from losing your information to a virus. The best way to keep criminals out of your home is to close and lock the doors and windows, right? Applications and operating systems are no exception to this rule. Developers do their best to keep up with security threats and release updates and patches to close down security holes, so click that ‘update now’ button and be patient! Stop avoiding that update for a much-used application—it may just save you from bank fraud or identity theft!

Remove old software.

Be careful! Some old software has fallen out of support with developers and is no longer getting security updates. These programs sitting on your computer could have old vulnerabilities that leave cracks for viruses to work their way into your computer without you knowing. Take stock of the applications on your computer and get rid of the ones you don’t use regularly. Removing unsafe programs will immediately boost your security!

They will pretend to be your friends.

Awesome! Your system and applications are up to date, and you have removed any software that has been sitting on the shelf collecting dust with massive security holes. You are good to go explore the internet, right? Not quite. One of the most important aspects of protecting yourself from a computer virus is your behavior online. Hackers can use plenty of technical vulnerabilities to wriggle a worm into your computer, but often the easiest thing to do is get you to put the virus on your computer for them.

Teach a man to phish…

Phishing is a common tactic for attackers. What is phishing? It is a technique used by hackers who present you with bait in an attempt to trick you into giving up the information they want. They can phish for: bank credentials, phone numbers, email addresses, system information, or even something seemingly as harmless as the school you graduated from (you haven’t used that as a security question, right?). The bait could be an email that looks like it came from your bank, asking you to update your password and requesting your old username and password for ‘confirmation’. The phishing bait may take the appearance of an email from a coworker asking you to take a look at an attached spreadsheet file that will slip a virus into your system if opened. Has a long lost relative from Nigeria contacted you recently sounding desperate for help and money? Be careful, and don’t trust any links sent from unconfirmed sources! When in doubt, always contact the source that appears to be sending the information directly to confirm its authenticity.

Pesky Pop-ups.

Pop-ups can be more than an annoyance. They can be downright harmful. Be careful when browsing the internet if a pop-up interrupts your session warning you of a harmful virus or much needed security update. Be sure to only trust verified developer sources for updates and keep your virus protection software up to date through its integrated update features.

Start with these tips to make yourself a hard target for viruses and attackers, and check out our blog for more related information!