Detection + Prevention
Avoid clicking on everything. There are thousands of banner ads and pop-ups on the internet that are designed to get your attention and make you click. Due to the way most modern browsers work, there are very few ways for you to get infected with something online UNLESS you click on it yourself. This means you should avoid clicking on banners for offers that are too good to be true.
Make sure your browser is configured to always ask before running files and downloading automatically. If you have to confirm everything, you are much less likely to get infected.
Beware of misleading pop-ups. Some of the most nefarious pop-ups on the internet are designed to mimic the look of legitimate anti-virus software. These pop-ups attempt to trick the user into thinking their antivirus software has found an infection. When you click the popup, however, the adware is actually installed.
- Instead of clicking the warning, close the popup window and open the antivirus program on your computer. You most likely will not see any warnings. If you are still worried, run a scan using your installed software.
- Install adblock plus to prevent ads appearing in the first place
- Other pop-ups may warn of an infection that only their software can fix. No legitimate antivirus company will advertise their product this way, so avoid clicking on any of these pop-ups
Clear your cache. Pop-ups can store information in your browser’s cache, leading to them reappearing constantly. To help prevent this, clear your browser’s cache regularly.
Consider a different browser. If you are using Internet Explorer or an older browser, you may be leaving yourself exposed to security risks. Browsers such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, are much more secure than older browsers, and more customisable.
Don’t go where you’re not supposed to.As viruses are illegal, they thrive on other illegal sites. Avoid sites that let you download copyrighted content or other illegal communities. File sharing is a quick way to get infected files. You will find that your computer is much less prone to infection if you avoid things you shouldn’t be doing.
- Besides viruses from files you download, many of these sites will have a litany of annoying pop-ups and misleading advertisements. All of these could lead to virus and spyware infection.
Look at the extension. Mischievous files often have fake extensions designed to trick you, such as “.txt.vb” or “.jpg.exe”. Windows will often hide common file extensions to make browsing through your files and programs more visually appealing. Double extensions exploit this by hiding the second, dangerous extension. If you normally don’t see extensions on your computer and it all of a sudden appears on a file that you’ve downloaded, you may have downloaded a malicious file that is hiding as something else.
Windows 8/8.1 To make your file extensions visible, open Windows Explorer, click the View tab/menu and select Options. Click the View tab in the Folder Options window, and uncheck the “Hide extensions for known file types” box –
Windows 7 Open Folder Options by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Folder Options.
Click the View tab.
Under Advanced settings, click Show hidden files and folders, and then click OK.
Scan your downloaded files
If you have an antivirus program installed (which you should), you should make a habit of scanning files that you’ve downloaded from unknown locations. Most antivirus programs allow you to immediately scan specific files by right-clicking on the file and selecting your antivirus from the list of options.
- Always scan ZIP files as these often contain multiple files in one archive.
- Email programs will often scan your email files for viruses automatically, but you should still scan any downloaded files with your own antivirus program.
Don’t open anything you don’t trust COMPLETELY
A virus or worm can do nothing unless you actually run the program that it is attached to. That means that simply downloading a file does not put you in any real danger. If you decide after downloading that you don’t exactly trust the file, avoid opening it or delete it until you can confirm its integrity.
Don’t download attachments from a source you don’t know
Email attachments are the number 1 way that viruses and other malware get spread. You should never click an attachment or link in an email from someone you don’t recognize. If you are unsure of the sender, get confirmation from them that the file is legitimate before downloading it. Don’t trust the “big name” senders either eg: your Bank, PayPal, eBay, AFP etc.
Don’t download attachments from a source you DO know unless you were expecting it
Many times people will get infected with viruses that send emails without their knowledge. This means you can receive email from trusted sources but the email itself is not trustworthy. If the writing is odd or the attachment looks off, do not click it. Verify with the person that they intended to send you the attachment you received.
- Any legitimate company will never ask you for passwords or other personal information through email.
Install an antivirus program – we recommend ESET Antivirus
An antivirus program will actively protect your computer from virus infections by scanning active programs and performing scheduled full-system scans. There are free antivirus programs that come with basic virus protection, such as AVG, BitDefender, and Avast, and there are paid programs that come with other internet security protections. Here at DESC Computers we use and recommend ESET Antivirus.
- You should only have one antivirus installed at a time in order to avoid conflicts between them.
- Make sure that your antivirus gets updated at least every week.
- Scan your computer at least weekly, more often if you are heavy internet user. (ESET does this automatically for you)
- An antivirus program is not a foolproof system, and should not replace good browsing habits and common sense.
Install an anti-spyware program. Beyond viruses, your computer can also get infected with spyware and adware. These programs are difficult to exterminate and often hijack your browsing experience. They also make your computer more susceptible to future infection. Most antivirus programs do not scan for or remove spyware and adware.
Be careful with USB drives. USB drives are a popular vehicle for virus transmissions, usually without the owner being aware at all. You could get an infection just by inserting the USB drive, or could get your USB drive infected by plugging it into a public computer. Always scan with your antivirus program prior to opening the USB drive. Another way to transmit files is file sharing, such as online storage (dropbox / onedrive / googledrive)
Keep a good backup. If disaster strikes, you don’t want to be left without your important data. A regular backup schedule will mitigate any damage done by a virus, and will allow you to get up and running much quicker. There are a variety of ways that you can go about backing up your data, both locally and remotely.
HAVE YOU BACKED UP ?
For any and all advice on backup, please contact us and we can implement as strategy to suit your needs. From easy simply backup, to complicated change over secure double backup.
Read our BACKUP page for solutions.