Keeping Your PC Safe From Malware

happycomputerAs computers encompass more and more of our daily lives it is becoming crucial to protect your computer(s) from all the threats that are out there.  Since it’s almost unheard of to have a computer that is not connected to the internet at all (even utilities are now being connected to the internet as “smart” utilities) the risk of infection by malware or virus is always present.

It really doesn’t matter how good of an antivirus program you have–hackers are always working towards making new ways to get to you.  And this is the reality: a never-ending arms race between white hats and black hats.

Despite the challenges it doesn’t hurt to do the most that you can to prevent infection and other problems associated with malware and viruses.  Here are a few “best practices” that you can incorporate as a business, utility, or private individual.

Use Different Passwords

This is a tricky one, but I recently had an experience with this very thing.  If you use the same password for lots of online accounts with a similar username (aka your email) you will be vulnerable.  I personally thought that nobody would ever guess my password but eventually someone did!  I’m not sure how it happened but he had my password and my email – and therefore could technically access several of my accounts.  I am sure he had some sort of spider set up to go to many common logins to try out the password.  I had to frantically change my password to multiple accounts while I was out at dinner with friends.  And even then I wasn’t sure if I had changed every one – I have a lot of accounts!

Password managers such as LastPass make it easy to maintain multiple complex passwords.  I have started using LastPass and the mobile app and it has made all of my online accounts a lot more safe.

Use Security Software

Having an antivirus software tool is a great start, but the problem is that viruses aren’t the only thing that can take you down.  Malware has many variants, such as adware and spyware.  In order to truly protect your computer and get rid of any software that is lurking you should employ the use of antimalware software.  Programs such as Spyhunter 4 and Malwarebytes are great tools for this.  They can sniff out programs that slip by antivirus software because they pose as actual “programs”.  Sometimes you might even unwittingly agree to their installation!  This has happened to myself and a few clients before.

Don’t Frequent Internet “Bad Neighborhoods”

This goes without saying.  It’s quite well known that gambling, adult, and hacking websites and forums are a veritable treasure trove of viruses, malware, and more.  It doesn’t mean it’s the only place you can acquire a baddie, but it certainly raises the odds.

If you simply must frequent these sorts of sites, buy yourself a cheap netbook that is completely separate from any of your personal computer files and accounts.