If you want a smooth digital experience, you must protect your computer. In particular, you need to ensure that your computer is secured against malware. Malware is the umbrella term for malicious software variants, including ransomware, viruses, and spyware. Malware has been known to cause extensive damage to computers and often results in the loss of sensitive data. Therefore, this article will cover five crucial steps you should take to protect your computer from malware.
1. Invest in Trusted Malware and Antivirus Software
Investing in high-quality malware or antivirus software is a small price to pay compared to the high cost of having your computer hijacked. There are a ton of free antivirus and malware software options on the internet, but you can’t trust your computer’s security to just anyone. Do your research and make sure to only use the best malware removal tools.
Antivirus and malware removal software such as Malwarebytes, Bitdefender Antivirus, Adaware Antivirus, and Avast come highly recommended. They also offer free versions of their highly dependable software, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money.
2. Update your Operating System and Programs
Receiving a notification for a computer update is a lot like hearing your in-laws are in town. You know you’re obligated to see them, but there are other things you’d rather be doing. However, operating system updates are essential. If you neglect them, the consequences are likely to be much worse than upset in-laws.
Major software providers all have their own operating systems with their own antivirus defenses. However, they still need to update their systems on a regular basis to address new vulnerabilities. It may be annoying, but these updates are crucial to securing your computer against malicious software.
3. Remove Unnecessary Software
In addition to updating your operating system and programs, you should also remove any software you no longer use. This is because the software has a short life cycle that is only sustained by ongoing updates and upgrades. Therefore when a software program doesn’t have any updates to maintain it, it becomes outdated. This means that the software is unmaintained and cannot integrate with new applications or run smoothly on new devices. Additionally, it doesn’t have patches for newly discovered vulnerabilities. Therefore it can fall prey to a cyber attack.
4. Use Only Secure/Encrypted Networks
We continually send our personal information over public networks, and unfortunately, it’s not always as secure as we may think. Our computers are constantly connecting to the internet, printers, and files, and hackers love to prey on unprotected internet traffic. This means that doing things like using public Wi-Fi without browser protection, not using a password for your personal network, and relying on WEP router encryption puts you at significant risk of being hacked. To protect yourself, you need to use a VPN with strong encryption both at home and when using a public network outside your home. Furthermore, your wireless network at home should be WPA or WPA2 encrypted, and you should never give out your SSID to others.
5. Scan your Computer Regularly
As we mentioned previously, it’s crucial that you use antivirus and malware software to protect your computer. However, you can’t just depend on these programs to run in the background. You need to manage these programs upfront. The best way to do this is to set up automatic scans to run every few days or weeks. This will ensure that your software is doing this job.
You may find that your computer runs slower when running a scan, so you should schedule your scans for when you’re not using the computer. However, when doing this, you need to make sure that your system remains on. So you need to program your computer so it can’t go to sleep or hibernate while scans are running.
Malware is everywhere. However, it is possible to keep it from invading your computer. You just need to take preventative measures. To recap, here are the five steps you need to take to protect your computer from malware:
- Only use trusted antivirus and malware software from a reputable provider
- Always update your operating system and programs
- Get rid of software programs you no longer use or that are outdated
- Use secure networks and/or VPNs whenever possible
- Regularly run scans of your computer with your antivirus and malware software
- Taking these basic precautions will ensure that you are secured against malicious attacks.
Read Also: The Remote Worker’s Guide to Cybersecurity