Computer viruses are a reality of life which any PC user will have to face up to, and thankfully there are a lot of strategies to adopt and tools to use if you want to protect your devices from malicious code.
We have put together a list of the most important steps to take when battling viruses, so take a look and take action if you have skipped over any yourself.
Install antivirus software
Perhaps most importantly of all, your PC needs antivirus software to deliver active shielding against all sorts of digital nasties which could otherwise create havoc if left to their own devices.
There are lots of packages out there, so comparing the best value antivirus software to find the one that fits your needs as well as your budget is sensible.
Of course you could rely on the built-in antivirus capabilities that Windows provides, but these are fairly limited compared with the premium solutions, so going the extra mile is definitely worthwhile if you are serious about steering clear of viruses.
Avoid spam emails
One of the most common ways for viruses to end up on your PC is courtesy of unsolicited spam emails, which may either include viruses as an attachment or could feature links to phishing sites (which we will discuss later).
All good email services should come with a spam filter to hopefully catch the most suspicious messages that are sent your way, but these are rarely perfect and you should expect some harmful correspondence to slip through the net from time to time.
Because of this it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the tactics spammers use to dupe their victims, such as using urgent language and claims of emergencies to encourage you to open their messages, or simply just pretending to represent genuine companies and brands with which you may be familiar.
Sidestep phishing sites
Spam messages are one weapon in the cybercrime arsenal, and phishing sites are similarly problematic, relying on many of the same strategies to pull the wool over the eyes of innocent internet users.
Again a phishing site may attempt to disguise itself as a site belonging to a legitimate business, while surreptitiously downloading dangerous code onto your PC. They can take many other forms as well, so not clicking on suspicious links and avoiding sites which are offering deals that seem too good to be true is a sensible option.
Update your software
Another essential maneuver in the war against viruses is to always download software updates for your operating system and other installed services whenever they become available.
In most cases updates will include patches for recently discovered security flaws, without which you could be leaving yourself vulnerable to exploits which virus creators have become aware of.
Critical updates for your OS as well as your web browser of choice should obviously be a priority, and not something to put off. Enabling automatic updates is a good way to make this seamless and not rely on having to remember to do this manually.
Stay in the loop with cybersecurity news
While you can get a good amount of protection by using antivirus software and educating yourself on spam email and phishing tactics, it definitely doesn’t hurt to take an interest in breaking news relating to cybersecurity matters.
This will not only alert you to the emergence of new viruses and online scams, but also keep you abreast of instances of breaches occurring at businesses of which you may be a customer, which is becoming an increasingly relevant concern for modern consumers.
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