DIY PC Part I: Malware Protection

09/01/2011

Malware Protection – A Computer’s First Line of Defense

malware protectionMalware is any piece of software that was written with malicious intents, in order to create chaos in your computer and compromise your security. They include, but are not limited to: viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, phishing and adware. Nowadays people wrongfully use the word “virus” to encompass everything that refers to “malware”. Even though malware is not as dangerous as a virus it still affects the user experience and compromises data.

The following is a list of tips that will help you protect your computer from those unwanted guests:

  • Download an Antivirus: An antivirus or Internet Security Suite is special software designed to provide Malware protection and keep malicious materials ashore. By detecting it and preventing it from running, then removing it. There are many vendors and versions of antivirus. There are even some which are free. But not everything that looks like an antivirus might be an antivirus. Make sure to download an antivirus from a reputable vendor and only from their website.
  • Keep your Antivirus up-to-date: Every day, crackers (also known as “hackers”) come up with new ways to send you computer viruses. On the other side of the battle there are the good guys, the antivirus developers. They make sure to fight back and add new definitions to their software of what a virus means.
  • Do not ignore your Antivirus’ warnings: Many people tend to ignore their antivirus, simply because it won’t let them run a certain program or open a file. Open these programs or files only when you are one hundred percent sure of their source and integrity.
  • Keep your Operating System up-to-date: Just as in the antivirus headquarters, the Operating Systems developers are constantly fighting back hackers in order to prevent them from accomplishing their nasty intentions by creating patches for the vulnerabilities in their software.
  • Regularly update your software: Just as your antivirus and your OS, your software needs to be updated constantly. Make sure to pay special attention to your browser. You will get update pop-up messages periodically.
  • Do not open SPAM: SPAM, or unwanted email, it is not only annoying. In most occasions they carry Trojans. Just like the Trojan horse in Greek mythology, a Trojan horse is a program or files that carry a hidden, malicious code within it. When the user opens the file or runs the program, he or she also activates the Trojan.
  • Be smart about your passwords: Make strong passwords, do not use the same passwords for all of your accounts and do not share them with people you do not trust are the main ways to keep your passwords safe.
  • Be aware of Internet ads: Remember the old saying: “If it seems to be true, it probably is”. Do not send personal information to unknown parties online, specially is they are offering a prize for it.
  • Be careful with removable media: Virus does not only spread through the internet. Removable media like CDs, DVDs and thumb drives can also carry Malware. Do not open files in removable media from untrusted sources.
  • All OSs are vulnerable: During a recent study, hackers (white hackers, that is, or hackers who use their skills with good intents by testing system vulnerabilities) from the entire world where gathered to determine which OS is the weakest. Mac OS was the first one to fall. If you are running Mac OS, Linux or even Android, you are still prone to attacks, as any Operating System is vulnerable. Do some research on how to protect yourself on your OS, or give us a call. Remember, we are always glad to help and it is better to be safe than sorry. It is easier to prevent a virus than to uproot it.
  • What to do if you are infected?: Turn off your PC and contact a Telx Support Technician immediately. We can provide you the malware protection your PC needs to stay running properly