It seems that with every passing news cycle, fresh reports of new digital threats emerge about cyber threats to personal and professional computer setups. While common sense can go some distance in keeping honest users protected, there are still a lot of steps that ought to be taken so we can stay as protected as possible. The first and most obvious of these should be acquiring a solid antivirus suite. Most operating systems have an in-house antivirus function but investing in something more comprehensive can pay dividends, especially if users do a lot of downloading or are expecting to deal with a lot of third party site interaction. Once one of these is installed, have a poke around to ensure that there aren’t any program conflicts to be resolved and be sure that you regularly update the software and threat profiles.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Another fundamental you should be taking action on is a good, functioning firewall. Again, most operating systems have a native firewall you can activate to rebuff various sites’ efforts to penetrate your system. We mentioned common sense earlier, but it can’t be overstated enough that phishing emails are the biggest offender here. Many, such as dating or prescription drug offers, are pretty obvious, but many will be disguised as customer support emails from legitimate companies like PayPal or Facebook. Most will be caught by your inbox spam filter or, failing that, your browser. Whatever you do, don’t click links in these emails till you can ascertain they’re from a legitimate source.
Constant Vigilance Pays Off
Another shortcut to staying safe is making sure that your operating system is kept updated. OS vulnerabilities form the foundation of malware development but fortunately, most operating system developers devote considerable resources to identifying and rectifying these problems. You’ll need to stay updated to take advantage of them however, and configuring the settings so that updates are automatically installed is probably the easiest way to ensure this. For similar reasons, make sure you’re keeping whatever web browsers you’re using updated to their latest versions to take advantage of recent security improvements.
Keep Yourself Protected
While safe browsing practices and good firewalls will massively reduce the threat of infection, it’s a good idea to prepare for the malware that can slip through the net and burrow itself into your device. Getting a good anti-malware program will help in this regard. Again, operating systems usually have native malicious software removal tools but, in general, they won’t be as effective as the software developed by dedicated security labs like Norton or Kaspersky. Once you have a suitable anti-malware program installed, regularly run full system scan whilst keeping the software and malware database completely updated. If you happen to be unlucky enough for your computer to already have succumbed to malware and non-drastic action doesn’t seem to be improving the situation, there are still steps you can take. Rescue disks, developed by most antivirus labs, can scan your computer for viruses without activating the operating system. It makes it very difficult for malware to run scripts to protect themselves from security measures. From there, it can attempt to recover your operating system, often while running in its own proprietary operating system that it runs parallel to your main OS. You may be able to recover the files in your operating system but make sure you do this tentatively with maximum security measures in place to guard against a repeat attack.