Malware is a term used to describe a broad category of software that could damage your computer or steal your information that includes viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, and rootkits.
If you are not sure what these terms mean, go to Google and type in the word define and the term you want to look up. For example:
The old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is very true when it comes to malware. It is much easier to avoid getting infected than removing some virus infections.
Prevent Malware – Make Basic Sense
Do you drive without using a seat belt? Would you knowingly go to a bad part of town, at night, with money hanging out of your pocket…repeatedly?
No amount of security or antivirus software can keep you 100% safe, especially if you do dangerous things online. You do not have to be a computer geek or expert to keep your computer safe. You have to use your instincts, think twice before clicking, and use Google to research\check things out. If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.
Proper Computer Safety Behavior
Email: Do not click on links or files in emails from people you do not know. Be very careful even if you know the person. There are viruses that infect computers, search the email address book and send itself out automatically to everyone it found in the address book. It may look like your family member or friend sent you that email, but it really was the virus. If you are suspicious and don’t know the person, just delete the email. If you are suspicious and know the person, contact them and ask did they send you an email.
Downloads: There are plenty of useful and virus free software on the internet at little or no cost. However, there is also plenty of software that is infected. If you are not sure about what you are about to download, leave the site and do some research. You can always come back to the site and download the software later.
Disc or USB Drive: I am sure your family, friends or associates will not try to infect your computer on purpose. However they may unknowingly give you an infected disc or USB drive. It is a good idea to scan all discs and USB drives for viruses before opening any of the files stored on them.
Pop-up window: Some pop-up windows will try to scare you into believing that you need to click and download their particular software to keep your computer safe or get a free virus scan. At this point your computer is probably not infected, but as soon as you click anywhere on the pop-up window, your computer will likely be infected. Use Task Manager to close the types of pop-ups by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete and select the pop-up window and click End Process.
Illegal File-Sharing Services or Websites: My recommendation is, DON’T GO THERE! One sure way to highly increase your chances of getting infected with a virus is to download illegal software, music or videos from illegal file sharing sites or services.
Other Things You Can Do To Protect Your Computer
It is possible to practice proper computer behavior 100% of the time and still get infected. The very smart (but devious) people that write viruses are getting better at sneaking their malware onto computers. Below are some additional steps to take to increase your malware protection level:
Update your Operating System: Use Windows Update. Microsoft is always trying to make their products more secure when they hear about virus threats. Keep your Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 operating system up to date.
Update your Browser: It does not matter which browser (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox or Opera) you use, keep it current. Also, take advantage of your browser’s ability to block pop-ups and control downloads.
Antivirus Software: There are some people that buy antivirus software, install it forget about it. The software is never updated. New viruses are created every single day. You must keep your antivirus software updated.
Firewall: You must have control over what information comes in and out of your computer. A firewall will give you that control.
Take control and be safe,