Viruses may seem overwhelming and they definitely shouldn’t be taken lightly. With so much of our personal information online or on our device, it’s definitely important to be wary of any possible threats. While some viruses are merely annoying, other viruses can be malicious; stealing personal data, hijacking your online accounts, or even corrupting your device to the point it doesn’t work.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to avoid viruses as well as programs you can pay for that make sure your device and personal information are safe, eliminating your chances of phishing, malware, and other detrimental computer bugs.
01 Get A Good Anti-virus program
Anti-virus programs are exactly what they sound like. Companies such as Bitdefender, Avast and Trend Micro all offer protection against malware and phishing, also giving you the ability to scan for viruses and check your vulnerability to them. Anti-virus protection like this has a yearly cost hovering between 50.00$ and 100.00$ depending on how many devices you need to protect. While paying for programs often makes people hesitant; in a situation like this it is better to be safe than sorry. Paying a small amount yearly is a smaller price to pay then losing your personal information, (learn more here) money from your bank, data on your device (such as pictures and docutments), or replacing your device. We at Above & Beyond Tech prefer Bitdefender as an anti-virus program, however, other good ones exist. For more details on the best antivirus comparisons check out this link to PCmag.com.
02 Keep all of your programs up to date
Most people are familiar with update boxes, conveniently dismissible with a “remind me later” option. Unfortunately, later often turns into never, and programs that you use go without update. Not only does this jeopardize the functionality of the programs, it can also make you more susceptible to harmful malware. A good way of proactively updating your programs without interrupting device usage is to update when you’re done doing what you need to or setting it to automatically update when your not using your device.
03 suspicious emails
While some infectious programs may be trickier to identify than others, viruses often contain telltale signs that can warn you of any imposing threats.
– Download buttons: If you ever download content from a website, firstly make sure that it’s an official website for whatever you’re downloading. Secondly, make sure you click the correct “download” button. Some websites, especially less mainstream ones, will have fake download buttons, often flashier than the real download button. Selecting this exposes your device to harmful content.
– Suspicious Emails: “Congratulations! You’ve won a free cruise to the Netherlands!” Emails like this often cross our path and most people spot the scam from a mile away. However, some may be trickier than others to recognize. Viruses can often come in the form of an email from a site you may frequent or a seemingly legitimate promotion from a company you interact with. Upon close examination, these too can be identified as fraud. Any emails that ask for personal information without a secure log in or emails that contain strange links are usually phishing sites. A quick double check and you’re good to go.
04 Links & attachments
As previously mentioned, viruses often come in the guise of something positive. This doesn’t mean that any emails you get offering benefits are harmful, it simply means you have to be alert when checking them. Legitimate sites rarely redirect the user. Make sure wherever you are directed to is an official website. Attachments received that don’t seem familiar can also do some damage. A situation where something like this is common is with social media. A random “person” might message you, sending a link and urging you to click on it. Other times a friends account can be compromised, and they’ll message you with a strange link as well. If you’re doubtful for any reason, double check with whoever sent it to you, or just don’t click on it.
05 clean your cache
A cache is a saved area of memory on your device, reserved for speeding up instruction execution and updating/retrieving data. Essentially, it’s space that your device uses that makes your experience more fluid. However, just like an old boat gets covered with rust and barnacles without proper maintenance, your cache can also collect information or content that slows down or infects your device. To maintain a clean cache, it is recommended that you clear it every six months. There are programs that you can use that will clean it for you so that you don’t have to take it into a specialist. Above & Beyond Tech recommends CCleaner (insert link) to help ensure the uptake of your device.
Remember, it is always good to be safe than sorry. Updates, cache cleanings, and virus protection may seem like overkill but it’s all very beneficial. Just be proactive with your protection and you’ll find that your device stays safe. This is EXTRA important for people who use their device for business or online payments, handling money, or personal information. Secure your privacy by securing your device.
ProTip: clean the adware that finds its way into your computer while using social media like Facebook. To do this go to Malwarebytes.com/products scroll down to the bottom of the page, and look for ADWCleaner. This program will remove the ads, as well as any possibly malicious adware that can introduce worse forms of viruses into your computer.