Five Tips For Staying Ahead Of Malware

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

Malicious software has become an everyday issue for many computer users, and it can have serious implications for your finances. To keep your information, data, and finances safe, you need to be aware of the common threats to your online security that exist and how you can protect yourself against fraudulent activity.

According to research from Kaspersky Security, malicious software, which is also commonly referred to as malware, impacted as many as 34.2% of computer users in 2015. But what is malware and how does it work?

Malware is somewhat different than computer viruses because instead of completely stopping your computer from operating, it sits quietly in your system stealing important and sensitive information.

It is estimated that over 1 million new forms of malware are released on a daily basis in the form of spyware, Trojan horses, phishing links, and ransomware.

Malware is a major issue for both businesses and consumers alike. Although major organizations are investing big bucks in systems that can outsmart the latest malware releases, you also play an important role in preventing malware from spreading.

Here are five actions you can take to do your bit and prevent malware from becoming more of an issue while also protecting your own data and information.

Purchase reliable security software
It doesn’t matter how hard cyber security experts work if you don’t buy, install and update the software.

Ensure your software is regularly updated
It is imperative that you update all the software that operates on your system on a regular basis.

The majority of malware that is doing the rounds is currently spread online via the Internet; as such, you should regularly update your browser software to ensure you have the latest security fixes and patches.

Be wary of attachments
If you receive emails from anyone you don’t know or recognize, do not open the accompanying attachments or embedded links because there’s a high chance that they will contain some form of malware.

In fact, if you’re not expecting an attachment from the sender, the safest thing to do is call and verify the authenticity of the attachment.

Secure your network
If you use Wi-Fi in your home or business, ensure you secure the network with a robust password. If you do use an unsecured network while at a coffee shop or mall, do not make online purchases or perform any online banking activities.

Avoid clicking on pop-up windows
If you’re browsing the web and are presented with an offer of a free scan for malware, don’t click on it. There’s a high chance that it contains the exact thing you are hoping to scan for. Always scan your computer using security software that you have purchased from a reputable provider.