Over the years, malware has morphed from just being malicious programs that crash your computer to full-fledged phishing scams that cost users millions of dollars each year.
In 2019, ransomware, a type of malware cost organizations and businesses a whopping $11.5 billion. That’s without adding the losses these businesses suffer from the downtime caused by malware.
Computer viruses nowadays are more rampant than ever, and it falls on you to protect your computer from such threats.
However, with threats coming from every direction, protecting your computer from malware is easier said than done.
How to protect against malware becomes the lingering question for everyone concerned about their computer’s safety.
Protecting your computer from malware means more than just installing a free antivirus.
While doing so is a step in the right direction, you’ll need to do much more to keep your computer completely safe from malware.
Here’s how you protect your computer from these harmful programs.
Start With Installing an Antivirus
The first precaution you should take against malware is simply installing an antivirus.
All you need to do is Google “antivirus,” and you’ll have hundreds of antiviruses at your disposal.
You can roughly break down antiviruses into free antiviruses and paid antiviruses.
The penny-pinchers in us would obviously want the free antiviruses, but you may be getting what you pay for.
These free antiviruses offer basic protection from some of the most common types of malware.
To get more comprehensive protection, you’ll have to upgrade to a premium package for a small fee.
You’re better off installing a paid antivirus, which is usually dirt cheap. Also, don’t forget to update your antivirus or never ignore any updates for your antivirus.
New viruses come out each and every day, and an out of date antivirus may not be able to protect your computer against these new viruses.
Always remember to do a regular virus check, or just automate a virus scan after regular intervals. After installing an antivirus, you can now move on to other malware protection measures.
Install a Firewall
After installing an antivirus, the next thing to install is a firewall. In most cases, your computer comes preloaded with a firewall, so all you have to do is activate it.
Firewalls are software that monitor and control incoming and outgoing data traffic in a network.
These firewalls will block any incoming data that doesn’t meet certain security requirements.
It also doesn’t permit any data out of the network that it considers personal, sensitive or private.
There are two types of firewalls, software firewalls and hardware firewalls.
Both of them serve a similar purpose but just on different platforms.
Even if you don’t connect to the internet, just have your firewall on always to be on the safe side.
Have a Strong Password
Sometimes you don’t even have to get on the internet to get infected with malware.
Unscrupulous individuals may log into your computer and install them directly into your computer.
As such, it’s important to always have a computer password and a strong and complex one at that.
These passwords shouldn’t only be for your computer login screen; you should also have a strong password for your email, social media accounts, and online banking.
However, it could be unwise to use the same password for everything, although that’s what everyone does.
A good, strong password should have at least eight characters. These characters should be a combination of letters, numbers, and one or two symbols.
The password shouldn’t be too predictable and also try to mix both lower and upper case in your password.
Check Your Browser’s Security Settings
Unknown to most people, browsers have privacy and security settings that you probably should check out.
The settings give you some level of freedom in deciding what information websites can acquire for your browsing and what they can do with it.
You can tweak these settings to your preference to enhance your security and also your browsing privacy.
Doing so is a great way to ward off these phishing programs that mask themselves as other programs or websites.
Be Careful About What You Download
Are you notorious for illegally downloading stuff from the internet?
Then it’s high time you stop doing so because you’re exposing your computer to multiple security threats.
It’s easy for malicious folks to sneak in some malware into these music, movie, and game files.
The worst part is that you won’t even know it until it’s too late, and the damage it’s done is irreparable.
To be on the safe side, just get the legit music, movies, and software even though they are pricier.
Avoid bootleg downloads at all costs, because you may end up paying a hefty price for them.
Screen Email Attachments Before Opening Them
Emails are a hotbed for viruses, and if you’re not careful with your emails, you could fall victim.
You shouldn’t be opening any suspicious emails in the first place, but some email headlines are just too juicy to resist.
Opening these emails is one thing, but downloading their attachments is another thing.
If you have to download any email attachments, make sure you screen them for viruses first. Use your antivirus to scan for any viruses.
Make Your Scans Automatic
You don’t have to keep constantly reminding yourself to scan your computer for any malware.
If you set your scans to be automatic, your computer will do it for you after a week or a day, or whatever time interval you set.
Avoid the Cracks
Most people are suckers for cracked software because they don’t dent the pockets like genuine software.
However, you may pay a hefty price should the cracked software come loaded with malware.
Sometimes these software have bugs and glitches and only end up wasting your storage space.
You Now Know How to Protect Against Malware
Hopefully, you now know how to protect against malware, and you can keep your computer safe from external threats.
Remember, the internet is the number one source of malware, so be keen on your browsing activity.
Steer clear from suspicious sites, and also be careful of what you download.
For more informative reds, be sure to check out the other pieces on the site.