For most of us, the internet is essential for keeping up with everyday life. But, with our never ending use of the web, we’ve made our computers far more vulnerable to infection by viruses and malware (shortened from “malicious software programs”). So, we can assume a lot of us have also experienced what it’s like trying to use a computer ridden with malware. It’s annoying, frustrating and a very true test of patience.
1) Use your common sense
Common sense can save you a lot of strife, especially when it comes to avoiding malware on your PC. This basically means going with your gut feeling as well as being a bit more vigilant with a few things.
Click carefully! It might seem daunting, but it’s important to know what and what not to click. It’s best not to open attachments or links from emails you don’t recognise or cannot verify. Also, avoid web pages that have downloadable pirated material, or clicking on suspicious ads. If a website or email looks dodgy (spelling or grammar errors, no contact information etc.), skip it.
The right website. Another common trap is downloading from, or uploading personal information to the wrong website. For example, if you were to download Google Chrome, make sure the site you’re downloading it from is Google.com, without any typos. So, before downloading or giving your information to a website, make sure to check its URL first.
SSL certificate? An extra security measure being utilised by web pages is having an SSL certificate (or Security Sockets Layer). This ensures that the information you submit is encrypted, and thus more difficult for a third party to gain access to. You can spot if a site has one by checking if there is a small lock icon next to it’s name.
2) Antivirus software
Even with all the common sense in the world, you would still probably need antivirus software. Luckily Windows Defender- the antivirus software available to download for every Windows computer and pre-installed on all with Windows 8 onward – is a good and free alternative to most expensive antivirus software. It runs in the background and has surprisingly non-intrusive notifications. Bulky paid software, although perhaps being more thorough and protective of your personal information, could potentially slow down your computer.
3) Keep your OS up to date
Your operating system, whether it’s Windows or Mac OS X or another OS, needs to be up to date. Keeping up with the routine updates makes sure all the security leaks are being plugged with each patch.
4) Back up your stuff
In order to prevent the blow from getting a virus, it’s important to back up your data. You should aim to have your data backed up in at least three places: the device you use them on, and on two separate storage devices kept at two different locations. This way, your files are super secure, and you’re likely to suffer little to no data loss if your computer is hit with malware.
Even with these tips, there’s no 100% surefire way to keep viruses and malware at bay, simply due to the fact that they’re constantly evolving, but these tips will give you a fighting chance.