1. Install Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware
These tools will save your computer time and time again. You can find free solutions and paid solutions but we recommend finding a real-time solution that’s going to protect you while your checking emails, visiting bad websites and downloading programs. If you’re dealing with free real-time solutions then we also recommend a backup spyware and malware scanner that you can run one-time just in case. See here for our list of recommended programs. We recommend the paid version of Malwarebytes as the complete solution.
2. Keep them up-to-date
Now you have the software, KEEP IT UP TO DATE! Sorry, but this is necessary. You have to make sure you are keeping these up to date, either manually or automatically. If you don’t keep these up to date then they will quickly lose their value and ability to keep you safe from the latest malware, viruses and spyware out on the net.
3. Run frequent scans (setup automatic scanning)
Get into the habit of scanning your PC every week or two. If you can set up an automatic scan then you won’t have to worry about this all that much.
4. Learn how to run a quick scan on demand
If you’re, not the “tech type” or you just don’t do computers, at least learn how to use this software to be able to run a virus/malware scan. This will save you in a pinch. Don’t worry it isn’t hard. It is usually just a matter of opening/running the program, updating it, hitting a big button that says “SCAN” then the next big button that says “REMOVE THREATS. Great job you are one step closer to being a virus pro.
5. Protect your Wifi Connection, beware of public networks
You have to understand that open networks and even some protected ones can be accessed from a distance. A public network can be accessed by anyone easily and hackers and wrongdoers may target the network to effect your PC and devices. Make sure your home wifi is password protected and be wary of using public networks.
6. Watch what you’re doing online (emails, websites, downloads, torrents)
Actively knowing what you’re doing online can be a tremendous help in stopping the problem before it causes you chaos. Website’s and links online or in emails can be camouflaged as “safe” or even tempting (ie “Click here to see what you just won”). Understand that just by clicking these links you could be downloading or activating malicious content onto your PC. Start developing a keen eye for bad emails and banner ads online that are disasters in disguise.
7. Backup Backup Backup
The fallback. Learn how to backup your computer. This is a worst case scenario and is something that too many overlook until it’s too late. Windows makes it easy to keep your PC backed up, and will even allow you to schedule the backups regularly so you can forget about it. But when the fateful day comes that you need it, you will be prepared. Here’s a guide.
8. Strong Passwords
This hardly should need a mention. The number one way to “hack” a PC is by guessing the password. Make sure you have a strong password and change it up for your different online accounts. Especially emails! If someone hacks into your email they can get access to most things connected to it which can spell disaster. We can recommend having a list of passwords saved somewhere inconspicuously on your computer OR use a solution like LastPass to remember them for yours.
9. Mobile Device Safety
Thought your Mac was safe, guess again. Thought your Mobile or Tablet was safe, guess again. These days malware is becoming more tricky and while it is still much more common on a regular Windows PC, Macs, Smartphones and tablets can all get infected in the same ways. Be extra careful just in case and you will be fine.
If you end up getting a virus remember to go back to your tool and run the scan to get rid of it as quickly as possible. As is with PC, you can find malware removal tools for your Mac, mobile and tablets just the same as PC. Happy computing and stay safe online.