You’ve heard the malware horror stories, maybe even experienced some. Malware is anything from annoying pop-up ads to deleted files, account takeovers, identity theft, and the dreaded ransomware. Solving a serious malware problem is a nightmare. Prevention is the best medicine. Here are some tips to prevent malware from harming your PC.

1. Use a reputable antivirus software

This is your first line of defense. It’s amazing, but some people still don’t use an antivirus software. Don’t wait and be fooled into installing dubious antivirus software after seeing a popup threat warning. Install a reputable antivirus software, and set it up to block threats in real-time and receive updates immediately. You should also use the software to perform regular deep scans.

2. Control spam

Many disguised threats arrive in your inbox. These messages may seem to be from your bank with a link for you to sign in and view the latest security alerts, or a .zip file containing your bank statement. Familiar logos and URLs make the message look legit, but if you click the link or open the file, you could be activating malware! A good anti-spam solution will catch “phishing” attempts and other spam messages.

3. Keep your all of your computer security software current

Make sure that all of your computer security software is current. New malware and variants are released all the time, making it necessary for computer security software developers to update their software frequently. If you don’t have the latest protection, your computer is vulnerable.

4. Patch your operating system with the latest security updates

Security holes in your computer’s operating system could make your PC vulnerable to threats. As new hacks are discovered, operating system developers create “patches” to fix them. If you don’t apply the latest updates, your computer won’t have the latest protection.

5. Backup your data regularly

Because malware can delete files, or worse, encrypt your entire computer and hold your data for a hefty ransom, backing up your data is important than ever. It’s best to have at least two separate backups with one located off-site in case of fire, physical theft, or some other disaster.

6. Secure your Wi-Fi computer network

Wi-Fi networks must also be secured from hackers. Start by switching to either WPA or WPA2 encryption and set up a strong, hard-to-guess password. Make sure to turn off SSID broadcasting as well.

7. Use care when using public networks

It’s easy for you to log on and use public Wi-Fi, but the same is true for hackers, and your device will be vulnerable. If you must use a public hotspot, use only those that require a password which is only given to customers and changed daily, and don’t access online banking or transmit other sensitive information.

8. Use strong, hard-to-guess passwords

Always use strong, hard-to-guess passwords, using different ones for each account you have, and changing them frequently. Because it’s hard to remember this type of password, it’s smart to invest in a good password manager.

9. Be careful what you share

What type of information are you sharing on social media, community forums, and message boards? Hackers and identity thieves often gain crucial information from such sources.

10. Be careful what you click

Even with security software installed, think before you click. That file from a shipping company, for example, might not be real. Are you expecting a message with an attachment? Is this normal behavior for that contact? Check through an alternate method before opening anything unexpected. Hover over links with your mouse to view the actual URL the link points to.

Keeping your PC safe from harm requires both good computer security software and a proactive approach. Prevent disaster; educate yourself about malware and the tactics used to infect your computer. At Quikteks Tech Support we’ve seen it all and we’re ready to help. Give us a call at (973) 882-4644.