Malware is defined as software used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. This includes viruses, Trojan horses, rootkits, spyware, worms, adware and more. Avoiding Malware involves avoiding bringing it upon yourself, as well as updating your security. Please see below on the steps to handle both of these.
Ways malware gets on your system
- Suspicious websites - When you visit some sites the site may have a script that secretly installs malware. To prevent this, avoid suspicious websites and make sure your anti-virus, operating system, and web browser are all up to date.
- Website ads - Do not click on advertisements or close buttons on advertisements, rather close the window through the (x) in the upper right corner of the window.
- Pop ups - Website pop alerts will claim the machine has been infected with a virus, and claim to fix the issue you need to click the alert. Often clicking this alert will really be installing the virus, so these are not to be clicked.
- Free games and applications - Only download applications from a trusted website, many games or applications, although functional, will install malware.
- Email attachments - One of the most common ways to spread malware is through email attachments. Do not open email attachments from people you do not know. Never open emails that end in .exe, .bat, and .vbs.
- Phishing emails - Phishing emails are emails that try to convince the user to click on a link within the email. Never click links in these emails, they will often lead to websites that will install malware.
How to protect yourself from malware
- Update operating system - Take advantage of automatic updates. Get the latest and greatest version for your own protection.
- Update your browser - Whichever browser you use, take advantage of pop-up block and automatic updates.
- Firewall - Will help protect against threats from the public internet.
- Antivirus software - Keep your anti-virus software up to date to keep your system safe.
- Anti-malware - Often antimalware is included in antivirus applications, but if not, install a standalone anti-malware program.
- Spam filter - To avoid the chance of phishing emails or receiving unwanted attachments, set up a spam filter to avoid ever receiving these emails.