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10 Virus Protection Tips

10 Virus Protection Tips

2nd in a series of 10 Tips

 

1. Get a better understanding of what a virus is
A computer virus is a malware that, when executed, replicates by reproducing itself or infecting other programs by modifying them. Infecting computer programs can include as well, data files, or the boot sector of the hard drive. When this replication succeeds, the affected areas are then said to be “infected”. The term computer virus was a misnomer until it was coined by Fred Cohen in 1985. Viruses often perform some type of harmful activity on infected hosts, such as acquisition of hard disk space or CPU time, accessing private information, corrupting data, displaying political or humorous messages on the user’s screen, spamming their contacts, logging their keystrokes, or even rendering the computer useless. However, not all viruses carry a destructive payload or attempt to hide themselves—the defining characteristic of viruses is that they are self-replicating computer programs which install themselves without user consent.

2. Get the best anti-Virus for your needs
There are two mainstream types of anti virus software available. Free & Paid, both of which are available as cloud based.
Well known names include, Avira, AVG, Bitdefender, Bullguard, Kaspersky, Norton, McAfee, Panda, Sophos, Trend Micro, Zone Alarm.
Free versions are adequate for most circumstances.
Paid versions give extra protection and are better at detecting viruses.
Do not ever install more than one anti-virus.

3. Update it regularly files as well as definitions.
Failure to update your anti-virus programme on a regular basis is almost as dangerous as not having anti-virus software installed.
Viral activity is getting worse with over 8,000 attacks every second. In April 2015 there were nearly 1 million new malware threats released every day.
Do not assume that your anti-virus software is up to date. Manually check for programme and definition updates.
Again do not assume your software is checking for infections. Manually check regularly or risk an attack.

4. Avoid illegal or sexually explicit websites
85 Percent of Malware Comes from the Web, more than 30,000 websites are infected daily, and 80 percent of them are legitimate sites.
In April 2016 Google released a study on infected websites; more than 760K sites compromised annually.
Ten percent of the websites alerted through Safe Browsing were compromised again within one day.
The researchers found that when webmasters were alerted through both Safe Browsing displays and search alerts, 55 percent of the infected sites were addressed. Contacting webmasters directly through emailing caused remediation rates to increase to more than 75 percent.
Most of the webmasters addressed their infected sites when they received their first alert. However, the notices did not always lead to timely responses; 20 percent of operators received multiple notices before addressing infections of their websites.
“Equally problematic, many site operators appear to address only symptoms rather than the root cause of compromise,” the report noted. The websites were promptly re-infected.

5. Update windows weekly and keep updating till advised no more updates
Never assume that your windows has automatically updated. All versions prior to Windows 10 had optional updates which could only be updated by the user.
Because most people did not update these items they were targeted by the virus writers making you more prone to a viral attack.
Just because you have just updated does not mean you are up to date. Sometimes a restart and recheck is required before all items are updated.

6. Be cautious when opening emails. Check with sender that attachment is safe before opening.
Many attachments in emails are infected so much caution is needed when opening them. Take special care if your email has an attachment.
Just because an email arrives from someone you know does not mean that they sent it.
Email addresses can be easily cloned.
Do not open until 100% certain the attachment is safe.
Use your anti-virus software to scan it before opening.

7. Change your email settings to text only for maximum safety.
In your email programme settings you have the option to view emails as text only instead of HTML
HTML allows all pictures and links to be viewable and active so clicking on a picture or a link could send you to an unsavoury website.
Normally by hovering over a link you can see the actual destination displayed so before clicking on it if it does not come from the sender (e.g. www.bbc.co.uk) DO NOT CLICK on the link unless certain it is safe.

8. Do not use peer to peer websites. You will be infected by other users.
There is no such thing as a FREE download.
Websites like Bearshare and Kazaa use an open shared (peer to peer) environment to share music downloads.
Therefore not only can the music you are downloading be infected but also the persons PC uploading may also be infected. If you are on one of these websites at the same time as someone who is infected the infection can jump across onto your PC.
Don’t risk it at some stage your luck will run out.

9. Do not download from websites or verify site as safe before doing so.
In Tip No. 4 you were advised on the number of infected websites so unless you know the website is safe do not risk downloading from it.
Always use safe websites and if possible use secure website software to check.
Check the following before purchasing or downloading:-
1. No pop-up ads.
2. No unsolicited email.
3. Other shoppers had good experiences.
4. The site has a physical address or phone number.
5. There is a return policy.
6. Prices aren’t too low to believe.
7. Credit cards are accepted.
8. The site features a padlock or unbroken key icon.
9. An “https:” starts the web address when you check out.
10. The site has a privacy statement.

10. Make sure your firewall is enabled either in windows or your anti-virus programme.
What’s a firewall?
Let’s be clear: every computer should have or be behind a firewall. Possibly even both.
Firewalls are your first line of defence against an entire class of  network-based threat that is constantly (yes, constantly) attempting to attack your computer. Those threats are stopped cold simply by having a firewall.
And there’s a good chance you already have one. Possibly even two.
In your car, a firewall is the “wall” of metal between you and the engine. Its purpose is to prevent engine fires from reaching you.
A firewall for your computer is much the same, except that the engine – the network you’re connected to – is always on fire. The point of a firewall is to keep you from getting burned.

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