For many of us, maintaining a virus-free computer is easier said than done. Without even realizing it, we often engage in practices that invite virus infection and compromise online security. As any internet safety expert can attest, virus-related threats grow by the hour, and while some viruses act as minor annoyances, others carry far-reaching consequences. Luckily, keeping viruses off our computers doesn’t have to be a costly, cumbersome or time-consuming endeavor.
Install Dependable Antivirus Software
When working to keep viruses at bay, good antivirus software can be an invaluable ally. A reliable antivirus program will be able to detect and eliminate an expansive assortment of viruses and cyber threats, thereby providing you with tremendous peace of mind. If you’re currently on the hunt for the right software, limit your options to programs that offer first-rate antivirus protection, 24/7 support and frequent updates.
No matter which program you ultimately decide on, you’ll need to keep it updated to ensure maximum protection. Since virus developers and other cybercriminals are constantly thinking up ways to breach digital defenses, many cyber security companies have to work around the clock to keep pace. As a result, most antivirus programs need to be updated on a fairly consistent basis. Instead of putting pertinent updates on the backburner, take care to install them the instant they become available. The longer you drag your feet, the more vulnerable your computer will be to newly emerging threats. If you don’t trust yourself to install updates posthaste, consider setting your preferred antivirus to update automatically.
Be Mindful of the Sites You Visit
Unsecured websites are often hotbeds of viruses and malicious software. As such, avoiding suspicious sites can prove tremendously helpful in any cyber security endeavors. There are numerous ways to ascertain whether or not a website is safe, all of which should be easy for even the most infrequent internet users. For starters, if a site’s URL begins with “https” instead of “http,” that’s generally a sign that the site is encrypted and secured by an SSL certificate. In case you’re unfamiliar, an SSL certificate essentially protects sensitive information entered into a website as the data travels between the site and server. Secondly, before visiting a new site, confirm that the site has a trust seal, as this indicates that the owners are working with a security partner.
Watch Out for Suspicious Links
Suspicious links are abundant in virtually every area of the web. Not only can be they found on websites and popular social media platforms, they’re commonly included in emails from spammers and phishers. So if you receive an email that purports to be from a friend, family member or work colleague but doesn’t reflect the sender’s communication style, be wary of any links contained therein. If you have any doubt whatsoever regarding a message’s authenticity, avoid clicking any links and use your antivirus software to scan any attachments. You should also abstain from downloading software from unsecured websites. If clicking a download link doesn’t result in virus infection, opening the installation file just might.
Keep Your Operating System Updated
Your operating system works in tandem with your antivirus software to keep cyber threats at bay. As is the case with dedicated security software, your operating system will need to be updated on a regular basis in order to be truly effective. For best results, you’ll need to install updates as they become available instead of allowing them to pile up. A fully up-to-date O.S. combined with fully up-to-date antivirus software can give viruses a run for their money.
There’s no denying that the internet can be a dangerous place. In the absence of the proper precautions, your computer is liable to be overtaken by an assortment of viruses and malicious software. With savvy cybercriminals constantly finding new ways to overcome security protocols, it behooves every one of us to stay on guard. However, this isn’t to say that protecting your computer from viruses and other cyber threats is an arduous undertaking. In the fight against cybercriminals and virus propagation, a little bit of knowledge can go a long way. So if a virus-free computer is your ultimate goal, make sure to put the previously discussed pointers to good use.