Nearly 100% of all computer virus infections and scams come from internet activity – nowhere else. Malicious software doesn’t magically install itself on your computer nor does it usually enter though a flash drive or disk. It comes in through the internet. Where else, right? There are many ways that you can improve security when it comes to your online activities. It is imperative to develop these habits now as doing so will help protect you from increasing problems with unsecure utilities, software and viruses that might seriously affect your security and computer health in the future.
Monitor Browser Health
Your web browser is your gateway to the internet world. Therefore its health and security is your first line of defense against threats coming in from the internet. There are three common web browsers that most people use today. MS Internet Explorer (IE), Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. IE comes with your OS and can’t be uninstalled. It should be an adequate browser if kept clean and free of corruption and infection. From the menu or command toolbars you can check your add-ons and see if anything unexpected is ominously lurking in your browser. Oftentimes people inadvertently install add-ons (usually toolbars) while downloading utilities they think might be useful. These add-ons can seriously compromise browser security and affect browser performance, as well. To see if you have add-ons go to: Tools >Manage Add-ons >Toolbars and Extensions. Here you can disable the add-ons and then remove them from the control panel. If you see many add-ons that you do not recognize you should reset IE completely. To do this go to: Tools >Internet Options >Advanced >Reset. It is easy to do and you do not lose your bookmarks/favorites. Afterward remove unwanted software from the control panel.
Be Aware of Phishing Scams
Phishing schemes commonly delivered in the form of email is a type of scam where you are potentially tricked into downloading junk utilities or software (which often asks you for money later) a virus, or providing sensitive information. These messages are made to look as though they have originated from your bank, social media or payment sites such as Paypal or other legitimate people or companies. The phishing message often contains a link that will then lead to a counterfeit version of the site or ask you to open an infected attachment or download an infected utility. Or it might contain an attachment that it says you should open to continue. Don’t allow your curiosity to kill your computer. Delete all unsolicited mail. Never click links in emails or open email attachments unless you recognize the sender. And don’t give your credit card information over the internet unless you do it directly on a website (not from your email Inbox or a pop-up message) and you’re sure you trust the company.
Avoid Most Free Utilities
It’s very tempting to install that snazzy fish tank screen saver you see flashing on the sidebar of your favorite social site. DON’T DO IT! These types of free utilities usually come with a catch. In order to use them you give up something . . . usually your browser health or internet security in return for the favor. Video players, music converters, game toolbars, chat applets, screen savers, pc optimizers and cleaners and the like are all very tricky utilities to use without getting toolbars and viral infections. Next time you want to get that utility that makes your Facebook like an Electric Light Orchestra concert . . . .think twice about it. . .
Run a Malware Removal Tool Regularly
Even though you may think you’re protected because you have antivirus software you’re not. It is about as effective as a safety on a gun – not very effective at all. Especially where people are not adequately trained on computer systems or there are multiple users on a single machine. In this case, I often find that the computers have multiple virus infections present. It is important to run a virus removal utility such as AdAware or Malwarebytes (both of which are free) on a regular basis in addition to updating your Antivirus Software. Antivirus software alone is not enough. Yes you read that right. The antivirus software that you are relying on to protect you from virus infections is inadequate to protect you in all circumstances. Therefore I recommend you use separate virus removal software for removal on a regular basis. Caution: Be careful when installing a malware removal tool that you do not install another full antivirus suite. If you have any question uninstall the malware removal utility when finished. For more free information on computer repair topics you can visit my website here or blog called PC News.