When our computers malfunction or begin to slow down, we are very often quick to think that the computer has a virus. Virus or not, it is commonly a type of malware that takes hold of your technology. Malware is commonly thought of as annoying, and in some cases, dangerous. Everyone is scared of the thought of catching it on their computers, but what is malware?
Malware is commonly described as a broad category of malicious and damaging software. This type of software includes rootkits, spyware, worms, virus, adware, and trojans. Malware damage can range from mildly annoying to software crashes, and in serious cases even identity theft.
It can be worrying knowing that malware might be on your computer and taking advantage of your information. What most don’t know is that with the proper caution and preventative steps, avoiding malware can be extremely easy. Listed below are 6 ways to keep your technology malware free.
Watch What You Do Online
The biggest factor for avoiding malware is you. No, you don’t need some kind of special training or anything, but staying vigilant online is one of the largest known ways to keep your information safe. For example, when perusing online, if a site seems unsafe or looks even a little bit sketchy, click off of it. It is so easy for someone to plant a virus or other type of malware into a cheaply made website. When in doubt, better safe than sorry.
Don’t Open Spam
Spam is a huge way for malware to slip in through the cracks and into your computer. Let’s face it, everyone gets tons of spam in their emails. No, it is not safe to open it. If you happen to do so by mistake, do not click any links or download any attachments, that basically guarantees something gets into your computer. When being asked to view or click something you find suspicious, don’t.
Pop-Ups Are Another Version of Spam
There is a variety of sites on the internet that when clicked on, can also spawn a pop-up. Pop-ups are a smaller browser window that opens up and filled with an ad or another enticing website to garner clicks and downloads.
Sometimes, they can even appear to be security software to scare you into downloading their “virus protection”. Always immediately close out these windows to keep yourself safe and prevent temptation. If you tend to be tech savvy, there is a way you can block these pop-ups altogether. Here is a great guide for blocking pop-ups so you never have to worry.
Illegal File Sharing
Honestly, you might be on your own here. There is no quality control in the realm of illegal software and other technology, which means anyone can put anything in whatever they want. If your here for a pro-tip, please don’t download these. It is so easy for an attacker to tempt you into downloading their software, while you think you’re downloading a popular movie.
Install Anti-Malware Software
This might not be so much of a “tip” as it is a really strong suggestion. This should be one of the first things you do when setting up a new computer or other pieces of technology. This software goes a long way in terms of keeping you safe, especially if you accidentally get malware.
Anti-malware can even, in most cases, get rid of malware recently downloaded and notifies you when something you open is not necessarily safe. This doesn’t mean you can just go clicking on everything you see, but it is a really good “just in case” software to have.
Only download this software from reputable companies, for the best protection possible and to avoid downloading actual viruses instead. Sure, almost all companies charge money for this software, but some so offer free software, with fewer features.
Keep Your Anti-Malware Software Maintained
While the first step is to download it, the second is to maintain and update it, which most forget to do. Every once in a while, check your software for any updates available. this will keep it running to the best of its ability, which is best for you in the long run.
If you just so happen to have the free version of the anti-malware software, it might be in your best interest to consider upgrading. While free software is better than any at all, it does not protect again all malware threats.
These tips are specifically designed to keep you safe when dealing with malware.
While malware can seem extremely scary and unpredictable, especially to someone who has never dealt with it before, hopefully, this article has cleared the air and brought attention to the things you can do to prevent anyone from messing with your computer.