In our last post, we discussed why your wireless network should be password protected. Today, we are going to talk about how to keep your computer protected from virus infections and other malware.
The first question I am asked by a client picking up a heavily infected computer is, “How did I get infected and how do I prevent it?”
My response is typically, “I don’t know how you got infected, and there is no foolproof way to completely prevent infection, but I can help move towards not getting infected.”
1. Change Browsers
A typical computer user usually does not realize that there are different browsers. They only know there is an icon in the start menu titled, “Internet.” On a brand new computer, the “Internet” icon launches Microsoft’s Internet Explorer(IE). Although, IE has improved over the years, I still recommend users download and install Mozilla Firefox. You can read about Firefox’s history here.
One of the great benefits of using Firefox as your primary browser is the ability to install plugins. Plugins are small programs developed to enhance your internet browsing experience. We will take advantage of this ability to install plugins as the next step to minimize computer infection.
2. Install Web Of Trust (WOT) plugin
Web Of Trust is a plugin developed by WOT Services.
WOT places a traffic signal next to links in search engines indicating the safe ranking of the website. Websites are ranked by other users.
If a website has a red-light, this indicates an unsafe website. The website could contain malicious code or links to viruses/spyware/malware.
Changing your browser and using WOT plug-in will help with online protection, you need to also ensure your computer is protected from viruses when not surfing the web.
3. Anti-Virus software
There are many anti-virus solutions available, both free and paid. I have tried many of the anti-virus software solutions available and my anti-virus of choice is Microsoft’s Security Essentials. You can download Security Essentials here.
I have run Security Essentials on every client version of Windows Operating System since Windows XP sp3 and have not had any issues with infection or any system performance problems.
These 3 steps should stop most infections, but the final piece to my safe surfing formula should reduce infections to almost none existent.
4. Malwarebyte’s Anti-Malware
Malwarebyte’s Anti-Malware (MBAM) provides protection against mal-ware. Mal-ware is software that passes itself off as legitimate, but then reduces the performance of your computer and then offers to fix the problem by purchase of their software. The problem with the computer is usually the mal-ware and you aren’t buying anything, but you are providing your credit card to the creators of the mal-ware. MBAM provides free software and it is just as good as the paid version except for one major factor.
The paid version of MBAM (Malwarebyte’s Anti-Malware Pro) provides real-time monitoring of your computer. This means MBAM is always monitoring your computer and files for malicious software. The free version (Malwarebyte’s Anti-Malware Free) does not provide real-time monitoring. This means if you want your computer continuously protected, you have to remember to manually start MBAM to scan you computer.
You can purchase MBAM here. I am not receiving any compensation for recommending MBAM.
If you incorporate these 4 steps, you should see fewer infections. Although these items can protect against most malicious software, your habits also are a large cause of infection.
If you are downloading software from torrents, or visiting adult websites, or installing pirated software, you are opening yourself up to a higher possibility of infection then a typical user.
There are many different solutions to fight malicious software. I would like for you to share your recommendations in the comments.