There was a time when installing anti-virus software was the height of the computer security, and it wasn’t considered a necessity. But the landscape of cyber-threats has transformed, and we are living in an era of extensive, global campaigns, or threats such as the ransomware WannaCry infection and the Ukraine-focused NotPetya attack.
Across the board, professionals still recommend using software which protects your personal computer from attack, no matter what kind of computer you have. But the modern anti-virus software is not the last word in securing your computer. Rather, it’s just part of a multi-faceted approach requiring some common sense steps to keep your personal information and computer safe.
To secure your device fully, you need to understand the tips below:
- Nothing is Completely Immune
Anti-virus software won’t stop everything, but it certainly helps. Mac users should use Sophos, as it has a free antimalware program, while Windows users should consider Symantec. When you apply Sophos on your Macbook Air, it will even detect a virus hiding in a text document attached to a received email that the Mail app might have already downloaded.
A lot of people who use Apple products don’t worry about viruses, as it’s harder to infect a Mac than something put out by Windows. Despite this, it’s still a good idea to protect your Mac from the threat. One major issue which Mac users should be aware of is Adware. This type of code is mostly picked up when you’re using a software as a service, like email or other platforms that require logging into an account. It’s easy to pick up some Adware, particularly if you rush through those terms of service agreements.
Finding the right anti-virus software is particularly important for Windows users, however. So if you have a Windows computer, make sure that you keep your protection up to date.
- Stay Up To Date
For example, in May WannaCry malware attack, famously called WannaCrypt; struck machines running Windows XP, and un-updated Windows Vista and Windows XP. Luckily, Microsoft had already issued a software update about 2-months before, so as to protect its clients. Machines that hadn’t been updated were left vulnerable. But users who were running Windows 10, (the most current O.S), weren’t affected by the attack.
“The biggest mistake people make is thinking that once they install protective software, they’re done,” says Rose Burberry-Martin, who works with Veterans, ERISA, and LTD Lawyers. “What people don’t realize is that you need to keep your computer up to date, as well as your virus defence and your web browser. Hackers are always looking for new ways to get around your defenses, and the only way you can stay safe is if you keep up.”
Additionally, don’t forget to keep your anti-virus software, such as Windows Defender, updated too. The software cannot fight a threat which it doesn’t yet know about-and that information is mostly found in regular updates. Additionally, making sure that your internet browsers are up to date is a smart choice, as older browsers are more at-risk for viruses than newer versions.
- Consider Your Email
Be very smart about what email service you chose to use. Microsoft and Google are great choices because they assist prevent phishing in their Outlook.com and Gmail email services.
Google and Microsoft have more advanced inbuilt security and controls than what end users could do themselves-meaning that phishing emails will just get filtered out even before they reach you. Other network security systems and Anti-virus software like Sophos can also help in protecting against phishing attempts.
In short, perhaps the best way of protecting your machine in the current era is to install anti-malware software, but also take other steps, like keeping your operating system up-to-date; using a stable email provider like Gmail, and being vigilant, and using your common sense against phishing threats.
Finally, back up your data. In a worst-case scenario where the likes of ransomware infect your computer, savvy users will wipe their computers, install the operating system from scratch, and then restore the data from the backed-up version. This is, of course, better than losing everything.