6 Tips To Protect Your Computer From Malware
Did you know that over 10.4 million users become victims of malware attacks every year? In 2022 alone, 61% of organizations experienced malware attacks that propagated from employee to employee and infected their devices.
Malware is the most common type of attack on individual computers, corporate networks, and mobile devices. If your computer’s performance has suddenly deteriorated and you observe unexpected activity or unusual computer behavior, your machine is most likely infected with malware.
There is no single solution to stay safe from malware attacks. However, some simple preventive measures and techniques can help you guard yourself against malware and viruses. Continue reading to discover some easy tips to protect your computer from malware.
How Does Malware Impact Your Computer’s Performance?
Malware is a broad term used for a range of software that is downloaded to the computer when you click malicious links on websites, emails, DMs, and SMSs or open unsolicited or dubious programs.
This malicious software includes adware, spyware, keyloggers, Trojans, viruses, ransomware, phishing, smishing, crypto-jacking, bots, worms, and other harmful software.
The purpose of malware is to damage the computer, disable programs or operating systems, get unauthorized access to your hard drive, or steal sensitive information. When your computer is infected with malware, it can:
- Disrupt computer operations
- Slow down processing
- Damage internal components like motherboard, hard drives, and RAM
- Crash your operating system
- Restrict access to important data
- Steal personally identifiable information or other sensitive data
- Hack your accounts, including emails, admin accounts, bank accounts, social media accounts, and more
- Allow hackers to gain unauthorized access to your system, network, and the internet of things (IoT)
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How to Protect Your Computer from Malware?
Malware frequently goes unnoticed by computer users until it causes serious issues.
There is a misconception that installing a simple antivirus or web security system can prevent malware attacks. However, an antivirus’s malware detection rate is considerably lower, particularly when hackers infiltrate public networks and websites with hundreds of new malware each day.
You need to take a combination of preventive measures to keep your computer safe from malicious attempts.
Follow these easy tips to protect your computer from malware:
- Scan Your Computer Regularly
This step may seem ordinary, yet scanning your computer regularly can help you detect unnoticed malware before they damage your computer.
Antivirus is your first line of defense against malware, but it may ignore a variety of malware in a running computer without detailed scans.
Scan your computer at least once a week to make sure your operating system and utility software are safe from malware.
To be sure you don’t skip a scan, schedule regular scans on startup or while you’re using the computer.
Running scans on boot helps the computer detect malware more effectively as they’re not actively running at that time to dodge the antivirus software.
- Keep Your Operating System and Apps Updated
OS and software updates come with the latest security patches to counter new types of malware, cyberattacks, and security vulnerabilities.
Machines like Apple iPad, Macs, and iPhones have an integrated security system within the operating system, and updating it alone can significantly reduce the chances of malware attacks. Machines with other operating systems require frequent upgradation of both operating systems and antivirus software.
- Use Secure Networks (Avoid public Wi-Fi)
Public Wi-Fi networks are breeding grounds for countless malicious software. Hackers prefer hunting for devices connected to public Wi-Fi to infiltrate them with malware.
Avoid using public Wi-Fi and even if you have to use it urgently, set your device on WEP router encryption and make sure all your accounts and devices have strong passwords.
We recommend using private 4G and 5G internet on mobile devices instead when you don’t have a secure network within reach.
- Install Hardware or Software Firewall (Router, Computer, Software)
Hardware and software firewalls have been extremely effective tools to counter a variety of cybersecurity threats, both for individual computers and organizational networks.
Firewalls can sense unsolicited connection requests and block them instantly before they establish an active connection with your local or virtual private network. More so, you can add dubious links and websites to the blocked list manually.
Firewalls are available in both hardware and software. Many organizations prefer hardware firewalls that are set up on routers and servers.
Web application firewalls prevent unauthorized access to web servers and databases. For individual use, you can either install a hardware firewall with your domestic router or use a software firewall with your operating system.
- Use Strong Passwords
Strong passwords have been extremely effective in countering hacking attempts.
Always use a combination of alphabets, numbers, and special characters for your passwords, as they are nearly impossible to break.
Change your passwords periodically and avoid using the same password for all accounts. Make sure your password doesn’t contain strings identical to your login IDs.
- Avoid Clicking Dubious Links
Smishing and phishing remain one of the most common types of malware attacks, yet you can avoid these attacks with one simple technique – don’t click on suspicious links in emails and messages.
Sometimes, the hackers pretend to be a representative of a trusted company and ask you to give out details of your personally identifiable information (PII).
Remember that it is illegal for any employee to solicit PII by email, SMS, or DM. Ignore such emails and messages to avoid hacking attempts and data theft.
The increasing use of smartphones, mobile devices, and laptops for personal, official, and business use has resulted in a surge in cybersecurity threats.
Users need to take preventive measures to avoid being a victim of malware attacks and other potentially dangerous hacking attempts.
We hope the above tips will help you protect your computer, devices, and sensitive data from malware and keep your systems working smoothly.