How to Protect Yourself from Malware & Prevent Infection
Recently it seems like the threat of viruses, malware, and ransomware is greater than ever before. Large-scale attacks are in the news, scams online are more difficult to discern, and there are so many security and backup options it’s hard to know what to choose and what to avoid. It’s essential to take measures to avoid these as best we can.
So many of the malware, ransomware, and virus attacks we see and hear about at Outsource IT could easily be prevented by a few simple security precautions. While removing viruses and malware can be done, or secure backups can restore information in a ransomware attack, isn’t it easier to prevent the attacks in the first place?
Computer Safety Tips
While there will always be ways for malicious attackers to try and breach even the most secure system, these computer safety tips help keep your data and systems safe.
- Use antivirus software and keep it updated: Antivirus or anti-malware software is necessary for preventing attacks. Usually, subscription or professional versions of these are more robust and work better than free versions. It’s also necessary to keep these updated so you’re always protected with the latest technology.
- Install OS security patches: Vulnerabilities in security are constantly being discovered and patched by vendors for operating systems and other products. It’s imperative that you stay up to date with these patches so that you aren’t vulnerable to security leaks.
- Recently, the Wannacry ransomware attack on Microsoft machines caused a lot of problems for some large enterprises. This attack targeted a vulnerability that a patch had been previously been released for. Users who did not update their systems with this patch suffered from this preventable attack.
- Use a secure network and WiFi: When you use open WiFi, like at an airport or coffee shop, you are putting your personal information at risk. Private connections and WiFi require a key, and therefore unless someone has the key, they can’t see your browsing data and information. On open networks, this is available for anyone on the network to see with the right technology. The traffic on open networks is not encrypted, so attackers can easily get your personal information on them.
- Always backup your files: This is a tip on almost every single one of our blog posts. No matter the issue, it’s always a good (or, necessary) idea to backup your entire system. In case of a ransomware attack, it’s often impossible to retrieve the data. Same thing if your data is corrupted by malware. If you have a backup, you can at least have uncorrupted access to your data when needed.
- Think before you click: Whether in a browser, an IM, or an email, always think before you click. Popups on your browser? These are rarely real messages. A strange email attachment? Verify the source first. If something seems out of the ordinary, always think before you click.
- Pay attention to phishing and fake emails/calls (social engineering): Phishing emails can often appear to be from secure sources, but if you take some time to examine them, you’ll see that they aren’t legitimate. Someone phoning you pretending to be from your ISP or system provider asking for your personal information can seem real, too. However, you should always be wary of cold calls or emails from anyone asking for your personal information. Watch where you click, and watch what information you give.
- Check for SSL: Any website that you give personal information to (like a credit card number, address, or SIN/SSN) should be secure. This can be found in the URL bar with an ‘https://’ or a little padlock. If a website is not fully secured or encrypted, it is easier for your personal information to be stolen.
- Use strong, unique passwords: Be honest – how many of your passwords have you reused for different websites? Are any of them your birthday or your name? Easy-to-remember passwords are also easy-to-guess. Using randomly generated passwords (or better, long passphrases) for each online account you have and a password manager are the best way to keep your accounts safe.
Ready to Up Your System Security?
If you want more information about how to prevent malware and ransomware attacks on your systems, Outsource IT can help. Contact us today to discuss what simple precautions you can take on your home or work system, or more robust security solutions for large organizations.
Protect your systems from malware, ransomware, and other malicious softwares with these computer security tips from Outsource IT. Contact us today for more information and to discuss your security options!