6 Ways to Prevent Malware
Malware, as we previously discussed here on Tech Coach Albert’s site, is becoming worse than Viruses. It infects millions of computers daily and it’s a constant tail-chasing battle between those who create it and those who attempt to stop it. Understanding how Malware is installed and spreads will help you become more aware of their actions, keep your computer cleaner and hopefully prevent malware infecting your PC in the first place.
The most common ways Malware is spread is by these various techniques. The people who create it have become VERY successful at tricking you, hiding it, etc so that you inadvertently infect your PC. Understanding how its spread will help you prevent your computer from becoming infected!
- Email – Email is very easily faked by these people. Pay very close attention to who the email is FROM, and the content of the email BEFORE you ever attempt to click on anything within that email. That single click can launch you into a tailspin of viruses or malware. If you get an email from an old pal you haven’t talked to in months and all of a sudden they want you to view their pictures, check out some website, etc. Be very cautious! I’d even suggest contacting that person first just to make sure that really was from them. Good chance it wasn’t! Got an email letting you know your taxes are messed up and click here to fix them? Or maybe a package is being shipped but they need you to verify something? Question all these emails. Why would the IRS be contacting you by email? Are you SURE you’re expecting a package to be delivered? etc.
- Websites – Some websites when you visit them will launch a popup window, or some other item requesting you to install some sort of tool, plugin, utility, etc. Be very cautious with these. A good part of the time they’re nothing more than a trick to get you to install the malware.
- Pirated Software or Software not from the Vendors website – Pirated software and sometimes software that is not downloaded directly from the Software Vendors website could potentially be infected with malware too. The Setup programs may have been modified to include the installation of other programs, trials, toolbars etc that are infected with Malware. While the program may be the same, the install is likely not. It’s always safest to download the software directly from the software manufacturers website. When installing software, do NOT just click all the Yes/Next/I agree buttons on the screen and rush through it. READ what it’s doing. Is it attempting to install a new fancy toolbar when you were wanting a photo editing program? Don’t let it!
- Social Media – Yes, you even have to be careful when on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, MySpace (wait, did he just say MYSPACE?!?), etc. Malware can be hidden within video links, website links, etc. Be careful when that “OMG Can you believe this spider ate a dog!?” video pops up in your news feed. They’re masters at using enticing posts to trigger your curiosity. If you’ve been infected, these videos can show up as YOU posting them. That’s a sure fire way of knowing something isn’t right. Did Grandma really just post up a video of chicks riding Harleys in bikinis? Yeah, doubt that. Don’t click on it!
- Shared physical media – Another way malware can spread is by sharing files between people. Whether it be on a CD, DVD or removable disk drive. They might not be aware of their data already being infected, and when you launch it on your PC, you could get infected too.
- File Sharing Services – Illegal file sharing sites are FULL of malware. Fake downloads on what you think is the file you wanted, really end up being malware programs, viruses, etc. These services are never safe.
Now that you’re more aware of how malware is introduced to your PC, keep on the lookout of the various attempts you may come across, and drop me a note in the comment section below of what you find!
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