Learning how to protect your computer from viruses is crucial to keep the device free from internet threats, especially if you are performing any activities online that use your private information. This might include online banking, paying bills with your credit or debit card, or shopping.
These are likely all activities you engage in online without giving it a second thought. Not only is it easy, but it is also less time-consuming.
However, you do have to be more vigilant about guarding yourself against hackers. Having your identity stolen is a legitimate threat, and it can take an exceedingly long time to fix if it happens to you. Fortunately, there are several different ways you can keep yourself protected from those threats.
How to Protect Your Computer from Viruses
You can make sure you have computer protection through a variety of ways. First, you want to ensure you have antivirus software that is reputable and reliable.
There are several options from which you can choose from, and many licenses that you can purchase can be used on multiple machines. Those help you to protect all of the devices in your household simultaneously. Most of these just require a subscription renewal once per year.
Next, you can take steps to manually protect yourself, above and beyond what antivirus software will do for you. By partnering these two things together, you are giving yourself the best chance of protecting your data and keeping your computer virus-free. Let’s look into these tips in detail.
Using Antivirus Software
Antivirus software is an absolute necessity when it comes to keeping your information and data secure. It serves to protect your computer or other devices from spyware, viruses, malware, Trojans, phishing, and other spam and cyber attacks. To give yourself the best chance at avoiding any one of these internet threats, it is really imperative to choose the most reliable antivirus software program.
Also, in order for your software to run properly, you need to keep it up to date as well as maintained and most importantly, configured correctly. This gives you the best shot of your software program finding any potential threats to your security.
Apart from protecting your devices from multiple threats, a reliable anti-virus can also do the following:
- Quickly scans all removable devices that connect to the computer for any unknown threats
- Controls web activities to limit unauthorized access
- Provides a two-way firewall
- Blocks ads and spams
- Provides password protection and sometimes password storage
Serves as a monitoring tool for parents
Given how much antivirus software can do for you, it is really crucial to make sure you have it configured so that it can perform all of these functions effectively. To do so, you can follow these tips:
- Schedule a full computer scan at least once per week
- Schedule a virus signature for a minimum of once per week
- Turn on real-time virus detection
- Set up email message scanning for both incoming and outgoing messages
While having good antivirus software is essential, as well as making sure it is configured correctly, there are also manual steps you can take to help reinforce the software’s functions.
By Safely Operating Your Computer
While antivirus software is a must in protecting your data, there are also several steps you can take yourself that will help to keep your data secure. Antivirus software cannot do it all for you, but when partnered with these individual steps, you stand the best chance at keeping your data and information protected.
The following practices will limit your exposure to worms, viruses, and other internet threats:
- Do not open email messages from questionable sources. It is even better if you limit yourself from opening messages coming from anyone you do not personally know.
- Do not open any attachments unless you know the sender.
- Install security patches whenever you can.
- Keep automatic updates turned on so that you will have access to new security patches when they are available.
- Always back up your important information and data.
- Make sure you are using web browser settings that are secure.
- Only download files from sites you know and trust.
- If you are engaged in risky activities, use alternative email accounts. For example, if you want to be on a mailing list or sign up for something on a website, use an alternative email address.
- Make sure you are disconnected from the internet when you aren’t using your computer.
- Keep your computer password protected.
- Use a spam filtering program.
- Use a firewall to block Trojan horses and worms.
- Use a spyware filtering program to block spyware.
- Do not visit websites that you are not familiar with or that seem risky.
One of the biggest takeaways from this list on protecting your computer is to really only engage with sites and people you are familiar with. If the source is not trusted, you don’t want to engage with it in any way. This is one of the prime ways hackers gain access to your information.
That also means making sure you aren’t downloading anything from unknown or untrusted sources, as well as ensuring you don’t click on any links you find on websites or those sent to you.
Basically, you don’t want to give free access to anything and/or anyone. This is often how hackers get viruses on to your computer. A link might look enticing or might introduce an idea you want to explore but clicking on it usually makes you vulnerable to attacks.
Viruses are a common occurrence, as is identity theft and having your personal data stolen. Given how much the internet is used for dealing with private matters, it is imperative you take every step you can to limit your potential exposure to viruses.
We’ve outlined steps for both ensuring your antivirus is running properly and also ways you can manually adjust your own internet behaviors to help protect yourself. By using these in tandem, you give yourself the best chance at staying virus-free. Save yourself the headache and protect your information now.