The Best Ways To Protect Yourself From Malware

by Frank Wright, Service Manager
Users who bring their computers in to repair malware infections invariably ask the same question: “Why didn’t my antivirus stop me from getting viruses?”

So, you’re probably wondering, “If having antivirus software on my computer won’t protect me from viruses, what will?”

The fact of the matter is that while computer users are told they have to have antivirus on their PCs or risk getting infection, a machine can still get a virus despite antivirus software being installed.

Antivirus not foolproof

Antivirus software is designed to help prevent your system from becoming infected, but it isn’t foolproof. Antivirus software is constantly updated, but can be out of date for hours or even a day or two when a new infection is discovered.

Virus definitions are used to detect viruses and prevent them from gaining access to your computer. Automatic updates in antivirus software like Vipre download the updated definitions to protect your computer.

It’s the time period between when a new virus or malware is released, and the software companies can update the definitions, that your system is vulnerable.

How to protect yourself from malware

Although no antivirus software, even the most expensive versions, offers guaranteed virus protection, antivirus software is a must have. We’ve seen a number of infections where clients have said that they were on legitimate sites at the time the infection hit their computer.

Even legitimate websites have the chance of malware being coded into them by hackers, causing that website to send the malware onto your computer.

So, the absolute best thing you can do is to have antivirus software installed.

The next best step is to be cautious about what you are looking for on the Internet. Many times, users looking for “free” items on the Internet don’t suspect that they might as well be searching for free viruses.

Hackers are crafty – targeting people looking for free downloads is an easy way to spread an infection.

Some of the most common risky items to search for are “screensavers,” “free games,” “work from home,” and “taxes.”

With the search terms shown here, it’s easy to see how computer users could easily be tricked into downloading a file or application that was laced with a virus.

Cautious browsing

The second step to preventing infections on your computer is a combination of common sense and caution.

While it may not be common knowledge as to what is and is not safe to click on while on the Internet, really what it comes down to is using common sense. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, even on the Internet – if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. It’s very important while browsing the Internet that you do not click on anything that just catches your eye. Many times, people have a tendency to click on ads, and because of this, ads have a high risk of containing malware. Don’t click on ads!

The second part, be cautious refers to everything you are doing that involves the connection to the Internet.

If you are using email, make sure you were expecting an email from the person sending it. Opening forwarded emails is a bad habit.Many viruses attach themselves to email accounts and send a lot of spam and forwarded messages which unsuspecting users click on and mistakenly download a virus onto their machine.

So to sum everything up, you should always have antivirus software installed on your computer and keep it up to date.

Even if you think you are a computer pro, keyloggers and many other items can get into your computer and run in the background undetected sending away your private information.

Always use common sense and extreme caution as to what you click on. Nothing is free and you don’t ever know for sure who or what is on the other end of that email you just happened to get in your inbox.

If you think you may have a virus or malware on your computer, or just want it checked for safety’s sake, give us a call or bring your computer in and we can check it out.

It is all too common to see viruses on machines but not actually see anything different on the computer other than it “running a little slow.”