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How to prevent viruses and malware from entering your computer

The protection of your computer from viruses and malware depends majorly on you. No matter the type of antivirus you have – paid or free, the first line of defense is you.

malware and ransomware being shown as a thief in an envelope
Image: LinkedIn

As technology begins to advance so do loopholes & vulnerability start to increase. For every new technology invented, there will always be a way to manipulate it to become harmful. 

Your computer is no different. Every computer, no matter how secure it is, is prone to malware and virus attacks. Viruses are programs that when run on your computer, alter the normal behavior of your system.

How Do Viruses Enter Your Computer

No matter if you’re using one of the best gaming laptops under $500 or an ordinary laptop, but, these viruses find their way into computers mostly because of the actions of the user.

90% of all computer breaches are caused by user interaction either by clicking a link on a phishing email, downloading pirated software, or clicking on ads that offer you very unrealistic deals.

Although, there was a case where malware infected almost 300,000 computers around the globe due to vulnerability found in the Windows 7 OS. That virus was called the “Wannacry virus”.

The hackers found a vulnerability in the Windows 7 OS and exploited it by encrypting computers of victims in the Health Industry, small and medium-sized businesses, and even some Banks. This was one of the rarest cases of malware infecting users through non-user interaction.

How To Prevent Viruses and Malware From Infecting Your Computer 

Now you’ve known how viruses and malware get into your computers, how then do you protect yourself from these nuts?

Well, there are a lot of do’s and don’ts but we’ve put together some of the most crucial steps to take to protect yourself from Viruses and malware:

  1. Always Update Your System OS:

As with the “Wannacry” virus, it was effective because it was a vulnerability found in the Operating System itself. The vulnerability was already patched by Microsoft but because most users don’t update their OS, they are prone to such attacks.

Always set your system to auto-download and install the update so that whenever there is a security fix or patch available, it installs it for you without stress. This might be a small step but it will save you a lot if eventually, hackers try to exploit an already fixed vulnerability.

  1. Avoid Clicking Links In Your Emails or Messages:

Anytime you get a random email telling you to click this link to verify your bank details or to sign in to your Facebook account, don’t ever click that link. Most of those emails are phishing scams created by hackers to exploit ignorant users. 

Clicking on those fake links could reveal your IP address which might not be too bad but it could also do a lot more like installing remote access allowing the attacker to exfiltrate any data available on your system or install a keylogger that records all your keystrokes on your keyboard and sends it to the victim.

There is this saying that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to lose. That’s a terrible remark because we’re all human, you might have a photo or document that shouldn’t be public and if those viruses run on your system, they might become encrypted and if you’re the type who doesn’t back up his data, you might be forced to pay a ransom.

  1.  Avoid Downloading Pirated or Illegal Software:

This is the easiest way to download malware into your computer. Most pirated software out there has hidden files attached to them which when downloaded run malicious code which can lead to file encryption, reveal all your passwords, loss of data, and possibly money.

I have been a victim of a ransomware attack. I wanted to download a file for extracting different file types but I was redirected to a fake website and they offered the same software which was very carefully crafted to look like the original software. The virus was called “PQQ”.

After running this program, it encrypted all my documents and files, and immediately after the encryption, it delivered a pop-up message that gave me instructions on how to pay a ransom of about $1000 to a bitcoin address. 

Since I backed up most of my files to an external drive, I ghosted the hackers and formatted my pc. You don’t want this to be your experience.

Therefore, avoid downloading paid software for free on illegal websites like or torrenting paid content for free. This might lead to loss of data or even get your identity stolen. 

  1.  Always Have a Standard Antivirus Program Installed:

Most cyber-attacks are successful because users don’t have an active antivirus to combat these threats.

For example, If you have a standard antivirus installed on your computer and you try downloading malicious software, the antivirus will quarantine that software and prevent it from running on your computer and also alert you that the software you’re downloading is unsafe although if you proceed to download that software, that’s on you. 

However, some expert hackers have managed to create malware that evades the eyes of most antivirus, but that is very rare. Almost all existing malware can be detected by good antiviruses.

It is important to note that an antivirus might protect malicious programs from running on your computer but things like clicking fake links or signing into a fake website might not be covered by the antivirus.

  1. Always Use Strong Passwords:

A company called Rockyou was hacked and millions of passwords were leaked. That hack revealed that people used very weak passwords like password123, james10, or even “password”. To protect yourself from cyber attacks, always use strong passwords.

Try as much as possible not to make use of passwords including your name, children, date of birth, etc. This allows hackers to brute force or guess your passwords very easily.

  1. Educate Your Friends and Family:

Most cyber-attacks leverage the ignorance of users to be successful. Older folks don’t know if they’re clicking on a phishing scam or logging their bank details on a fake website.

The only way to protect against this is to educate your friends and family. Once you finish reading this article, educate your friends and family. This could be very effective in preventing them from viruses and malware.

Conclusion

The protection of your computer from viruses and malware depends majorly on you. No matter the type of antivirus you have – paid or free, the first line of defense is you. And if you happen to be infected with any kind of malware or virus – visit bestpctips.com to find a quick solution for your problem.

Always be careful on which links you click. Any email you get from a legitimate company like Facebook or Paypal, always check the header of the email. Once you see the sender’s address like @gmail.com, know that it’s a scam.

Of course, the more you have, the more you have to lose. Follow these basic precautions to prevent your computers from viruses and malware.

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