The New Year is here and malicious software is still a huge problem for PC users. 2014 was the year of the crypto virus which saw many users being held to ransom by hackers. The crypto virus is still widespread and having a good backup system has never been so important.
The best way to avoid a virus is to be aware of what to look out for. Following these tips will help you stay virus free in 2015:
1) Stick to sites you know and trust – Viruses can be installed through malicious code embedded into websites. Using well known and highly regarded websites minimises the risk of something nasty coming through. Certain “specialist” sites can be riddled with viruses and malicious software (malware) so avoid using these, especially in work!
2) Only install trusted applications – There are a lot of applications that contain malware as a way of generating revenue usually in the form of toolbars or advertising popups. If you are installing an application that you aren’t familiar with then it’s always wise to carry out some research first through Google. Sites like www.download.com test applications for malware so try to use a site like this if possible.
3) Don’t open email attachments that you aren’t sure about – We see a lot of people getting viruses by clicking on a missed delivery attachment or a tax rebate. Ask yourself, am I expecting a DHL delivery? Are HMRC likely to ever give me money? Even if the answer is yes, it won’t be in an email attachment.
4) Check an email link before clicking it – In most email clients you can see where a link is going by hovering the mouse over the link. The text might say “www.paypal.com” but if you hover your pointer over the link it might show “www.paypal.russianhackers.ru.” Clicking this link can never be a good thing!
5) Avoid suspect applications on Facebook – Facebook is the most used website in the world at the moment and there are many apps that you can install to play games, take part in surveys etc. Unfortunately there are no apps that will let you see who’s been looking at your profile and Tesco are not giving away £150 vouchers. When you accept an app beware that you could be giving it full access to all your personal data and even the permission to post on your or your friends’ wall.
6) Update EVERYTHING – There are many pieces of software installed on modern PCs to enrich your browsing experiences. To view even mainstream websites you need to have addons such as Adobe Flash and JAVA. It’s very important to keep these up to date to keep your computer secure. Windows itself also needs updated regularly.
7) Use a good antivirus – No antivirus gives 100% protection but it’s better to have 99% then 0%. At Wilson Computers we recommend ESET Endpoint Antivirus (previously NOD32.) Unlike Norton or McAfee, it has never missed an in the wild virus in the independent Virus Bulletin tests. It also doesn’t drastically slow your computer down like these programs can. It can be bought straight from ESET or we can manage your subscription for you at no extra cost.
Viruses and malware are at best a nuisance and can slow your computer down and make it more difficult to use. At worst they can destroy your data and damage your business’s reputation. If you think you might have a virus or would like any free advice then don’t hesitate to give us a call on 028 9146 9751.