How to Avoid Malware

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Avoiding Malware these days is not easy. More and more malicious websites main objective is to compromise your computer with malicious code that allows the hacker to steal personal information or snoop around on your computer. Computer users have to be on the offensive when it comes to being able to stay ahead of the game on keeping their computers safe while surfing on the Internet. There is a multilayer offensive that users will want to have working for them.

1. A good up to date virus scan. Many virus scans now are written to be able to detect and remove spyware and other malware. However, users need to make sure that their virus scan is updating signatures frequently. Time and time again, users may have a virus scan suite, but the signatures are out of date and they become infected. Check the status of your virus scan regularly. Windows Security center does a pretty good job of alerting users when something is not quite up to date. However, many users tend to turn off these alerts and notifications when they are setting up their computers if they become annoyed by their frequency and alerts popping up. If your computer is configured this way, make sure you make a habit of checking the status of the updates with their virus scans and Windows updates.

2. Make sure you are running the latest browser/browser updates. Many users become infected because of outdated browser software that is full of security holes. Internet Explorer in its earlier renditions was full of ways that a hacker could compromise security on a user’s computer. Malicious code can be planted on seemingly legitimate websites that can infect these browser versions unknowingly to the user. Firefox was not without its security problems in earlier versions either. However, all in all, Firefox seems to be a more secure way to browse the Internet than Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer versions 7 and 8 have really improved however on the security flaws in earlier versions of IE.

3. Make sure your Windows updates are running smoothly and you have the latest patch levels for your OS version. As with virus scan updates, users may have accidentally turned off Windows Updates or don’t have them configured correctly and their OS version is severely deprecated when it comes to security. Microsoft posts new updates the second Tuesday of every month. This is affectionately known as patch Tuesday. 4. Make sure you are careful with your browsing habits. If you are prompted to install a software that even appears legitimate that you didn’t solicit from a website, be wary! Many malware and spyware is loaded by unsuspecting users because they actually advertise themselves as “anti-spyware.” This could not be further from the truth. Very pesky spyware packages such as Spyware Protect 2009 and other variants are propagated this way. 5. Run a truly reputable anti malware software package at least weekly. One that is highly recommended is Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. Even in the free version of the software you are able to scan for and get rid of malware infections. With the paid version you can schedule scans, etc.