7 Ways To Protect Yourself From MalwareThere are a lot of malicious people out there who are actively engaged in hacking your computers, sending out viruses through various methods, and committing senseless acts of sabotage, often for no reason. Regardless if you are familiar with computers or not, you need to take action to protect your self from cyber attacks, and keep your personal information safe. Here are just a few steps you should take to prevent and avoid these threats.

Know What to Look For

When doing software updates or downloading new software or files, be on the look-out for new process names in the list of running processes. You should also be wary of emails or even Facebook messages from friends that claim to be offering a great deal or an once-in-a-lifetime type possibility. Hackers can create malware that will appear as if it were sent from an email contact or Facebook friend. Sometimes this is only a marketing strategy created by companies that spam but there is always the chance that by clicking on the offer that you will open up your computer to malware.

Turn Off the Auto-run Option for Portable Drives

If you have a flash drive or some other portable drive make sure to disable the auto-run option because this is one of the most common ways that viruses spread. It is also a bad idea to trust a portable drive that has been inserted into a computer that you do not own, even if the computer has some anti-virus protection. The first thing that you should do after inserting a portable drive that has been connected to an unknown computer is run an anti-virus scan to make sure it is safe.

Watch Out For the Typical Virus Symptoms

There are thousands of viruses but most of them can be detected by the same few symptoms. These symptoms include an inability to access the computer’s Task Manager, the Registry Editor, or msconfig and noticeable spikes in CPU or GPU usage.

Manually Enable the Running of Plugins in Your Browser

Set your computer settings so that plugins never download automatically. This will prevent ‘drive-by’ attacks from malicious code embedded in such plug-ins.

Keep Your Operating System Up to Date

All operating systems send updates frequently. Most of these updates are simply intended to fix bugs or make improvements to the functionality of the operating system but every once and a while they make updates to their security. Don’t miss these because they will contain defenses for the latest and most dangerous malware.

Use Anti-virus Software

Just because you have downloaded an anti-virus software doesn’t mean that your computer is immune to every virus. Anti-virus software works if you understand that they work best when preventing already known viruses. They are less effective in protecting against new and therefore unknown malware, especially advanced malware.

Use a Firewall

Using a computer on a public or work network opens up your computer to even more risk from malware. A network with multiple computers is more likely to have a virus simply because it provides more ways in for dangerous viruses. A computer in a network is like a doorway and so the more ‘doorways’ a network has the greater opportunity there is for intruders to enter in. A firewall’s primary objective is to control the incoming and outgoing network traffic by analyzing the data packets and then deciding whether it should be allowed in.