Many people have this perception that only geeks know how to keep their PC’s secure from malware. Trust me when I say this, you do not need thick glasses or any programming skills for that matter to keep your PC safe. The only thing that can save your computer from a virus attack is you yourself. In this article, I cover the 5 most common mistakes which we all have made at some point while also providing a solution for them.
1. Failing to update anti-virus:
I cannot stress enough how important it is to update your anti-virus. We live in a world where, sadly for us, viruses are everywhere. One wrong click on the internet and your computer may be prone to virus. Windows 8.1 and 7 are superior than their predecessor in the fact that they have stronger protection against viruses. Routers also protect against malware but that isn’t their strong suit.
Some people tend to ignore updating their anti-virus and some don’t have one to begin with. AVG and McAfee are the highest rated anti-virus for both Windows and iOS, while Microsoft Security Essentials works just fine on Windows (Windows 8.1, however, has it’s in-built Windows Defender). Some malware tend to turn off your virus protection. So, keep a check on your anti-virus software and note if your virus and spyware definitions are up to date.
2. Ignoring Windows Update:
Are you one of those people who goes to sleep without properly shutting down your PC? Well, I’m sure you were tired but it takes merely 30 seconds to shut down a PC. Once is acceptable but repeatedly closing your PC without proper shut down will cause the Windows updates to pile up. Then there are also some people who tend to ignore Windows updates. Despite the fact that new Operating Systems tend to be secure, there are still loopholes which creators of malicious software tend to exploit. And an out of date program may just be the loophole they need to inflict your PC with a virus.
3. Clicking on suspicious links:
While the internet has become our primary source of information, it has also made us vulnerable to viruses. What makes us even weaker in the face of a virus is the fact that they are, well, invisible. You will not realize their presence until the damage is done. While an anti-virus will protect you, you must also do your part. When searching the internet for a submission you have the next day, in desperation you will click on any link that seems correct. Some suspicious links will take you to a website that will automatically install malware in your PC.
How to get rid of it? Only use trusted websites. But I’m pretty sure no one will ever actually follow this, so there happens to be another solution: use link scanners. They will instantly tell you if your link is malicious. URL Void and Sucuri work best.
4. Avoid running unsolicited programs:
Has it ever happened that you were randomly browsing the internet and you clicked on a link, as soon as you saw that the site was bogus you closed it. But a file was downloaded and you ran it on your PC, installing it to see what it actually was. Then a few weeks later you PC began acting strange and it’s pace reduced to that of a turtle’s. Can you relate to this? Then you have been a victim of malware. As much important it is to avoid unknown and suspicious links, also avoid any files that may have downloaded on your PC unwillingly. Before you run any file, run it by your anti-virus. Better safe than sorry.
5. Copying old files into a re-installed OS:
You may have gone through the hectic task of re-installing your Operating System, only to find out that the virus has returned. The virus is never in the OS, but malicious external files inflict a virus on your PC. If you re-install your OS but copy back all the old files, the virus is bound to return. Once you’ve re-installed, scan your files before copying them or be ready to re-install your OS yet again!