Viruses, worms and malware can spell disaster for your computer. At best, these malicious programs will slow down your computer and infect it with annoying adware. But at worst, viruses and worms can open your computer to attack by hackers, or make it completely unusable through a lockout or ransom. Both of these results can lead to stolen credit cards and banking information, or even identity theft. Security professionals agree that the best way to prevent these types of disasters is through the use of proper defensive measures. TechFusion recommends the following practices to keep your information safe from harm:
  • Use Virus Protection: The best way to prevent a virus attack, and any other malicious intrusion, is through the use of a robust antivirus software. There are many free programs available, such as Malwarebytes and HerdProtect that offer a necessary basic level of protection. Companies such as Mcafee or Kapersky Labs offer more comprehensive protection at a price. As always, carefully evaluate available programs to determine which is right for you. TechFusion is happy to assist. In any case, be sure to only use one antivirus program, as running multiple programs can prevent proper functionality and result in reduced protection.
  • Create Strong Passwords– and Don’t Reuse Them! Using a strong password is the first line of defense in protecting your information. Passwords that are at least 6 characters, contain capitals and lowercase letters, numbers, and at least one non-alphanumeric character (*&%$#@!) are much stronger protection. Never use your name as any component of your password, and avoid obvious passwords such as “password123” or “admin1.” Most importantly, refrain from recycling passwords, as a hacker that figures out your password will have access to all your accounts.
  • Use Caution with Email Attachments: Be careful when opening email attachments. Do not open anything from an address that you do not know, or anything that arrives with a suspicious message, even if it is from a contact you do know. Email accounts are frequently compromised, and used to spread viruses. Some attachments may appear to be a Word document or PDF file, but are actually hidden executables that can infect your computer with dangerous viruses. When in doubt, contact the sender directly to confirm the attachment is safe– don’t risk compromising your computer or identity.
  • Be Smart with Freeware: Free software, such as video editors, photo manipulators or phone transfer utilities, are certainly tempting, especially compared to their paid counterparts. If you choose to use freeware, do so with caution. During installation, many freewares will sneak in worthless addons, like toolbars or utilities, that you don’t want, in addition to the software you wanted to install. The menus that you click through during installation often hide the “skip” option for these addons, which can easily deceive most users. Be sure to skip the installation of these addons, as they are at best irritating, but may download other malicious software without your knowledge. Use caution with freeware, or better yet, avoid it all together.
  • Update Often: When messages for Windows Update pop up, many users opt to postpone the update, or skip it altogether out of inconvenience. As frequent as these updates may be, don’t ignore them. The developers of the operating system constantly work to discover security flaws in the released software, and distribute updates to fix them. If you fail to update your system, you leave it at risk to a known security flaw. Install updates as available, and don’t forget to check your other software for updates too.