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.
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 Firefox, Chrome, and Opera 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.
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.
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.
Install an antivirus program – we recommend ESET Antivirus / Smart Security
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.
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.
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.