How to prevent Malware Infection
Unbelievably, some estimates claim that up to 50% of computers worldwide are infected with some form of malware. Here are some tips on preventing viruses or other malicious software from invading your computer.
- Never read email or open an attachment from an unknown source.
- You have probably been told this for years, and it is still a very good practice. If it doesn't look or sound right put it directly in the trash bin.
- Avoid ALL advertisements.
- When we see an advertisement, on TV or in print we are often very skeptical. But often an advertisement on the internet that tells you your computer is slow or broken, gets mistaken as an important message. It pays to know what real warning messages look like, and to be able to identify them over advertisements. Most web pages sell advertising space, so even when you're on a known webpage, it may contain advertisements from a third party. Advertisers will often sell you expensive, unnecessary software that actually contributes to the problem rather than fixes it.
- Be wary of "Free" offers.
- This really belongs in the above category, but it happens so often I gave it its own category. On the internet, as in life free rarely means truly free. Free offers often include spyware, adware, or even viruses, and should be viewed with extreme scrutiny or avoided all together.
- Always download software directly from the source.
- Software on the internet can be distributed in many ways, some legitimate, some not. Always make sure that products you download or purchase come directly from the author. Software distributed by a third party may include unwanted advertisements or worse.
- Always read all the "fine print".
- Even software that does come directly from the author can sometimes include additional software from the author, or partnering companies. There is almost always a way to disallow the installation of additional product if you read carefully.
- Keep your computer updated.
- While it may sometimes seem that your computer requires updates continuously. It is extremely important to complete these updates in a timely manner. Their primary purpose is to fix security issues and correct bugs which could leave you vulnerable to malicious software or hackers.
- Educate yourself.
- You do not need to know everything about your computer to operate it safely. Knowing what software is installed on your computer and what it is for or knowing which results from your favorite search engine are advertisements and which are not, goes a long way in preventing malware.