Keeping your PC clean in 2019 is far from being an easy job. Every day, 230 000 new malware tools are created – and of course, the number is expected to grow. If you don’t keep your guard up, catching one of those will be easy. Actually, it may very well catch you.
However, some people still think that software security is nothing but a buzz word – and what a mistake. Even if malware or a virus does not influence your system, it will certainly endanger your personal information. As long as you keep confidential documents, financial records, pictures, videos, creative materials – you are a subject of interest for hackers.
Another problem with malware is that you often don’t know that you are already hooked. If your antivirus misses malware, you could never find out that there is a risk, to begin with. Hence, the easiest way of avoiding this trouble is protecting yourself before installing anything. Preventing measures spare you the necessity of reinstalling the operating system or change the device.
Patch your OS and software
Whenever you click that ‘remind me later’ button on PC updates or software patches, you are basically agreeing to security threats. The problem is, software risks are evolving all the time, finding a way to get around built-in system protection. When your operating system sends you a patch, it includes important security improvements that target those new versions of threats.
Let’s just take a look at some examples of how malware can exploit outdated devices. Take a look at Cerber, ransomware that stole private data, worth of $100, 000 dollars – who knows for what purposes? This became possible due to the vulnerability in the software Apache Struts. Later, the issue was removed – but those users who neglected to install an update ended up compromised.
Another example of a similar strategy was chosen by BadRabbit, a malware, similar in its code and functionality to well-known NotPetya. The basic structural elements are basically the same, only this time it used the vulnerability, called EternalRomance. By updating your device in time and getting rid of technical issues, you can at least minimize the risks. But alas, PC users, as we know, hate updates.
Backup has your back
The easiest way to protect your data is to copy it safely to Cloud storage. If your physical device is compromised or if a virus is programmed to erase the data, you will have other versions of all important files.
To make the process simpler, download a back-up tool that is connected to popular Cloud storages or has its own Cloud server. This makes one action out of two. You don’t have to make backup copies, and then manually add them to Cloud – all these actions will be performed automatically in a single click.
Another protective backup measure is to have a routine backup tool with an enabled emergency backup mode. Whenever your PC detects a significant security threat, it will start promptly copying your files to the backup storage and delete them from a physical device. A handy feature if a computer is lost or stolen.
Protect yourself with software and passwords
Even though it has become a common online practice to discuss the uselessness of additional antiviruses, you should think several times before accepting such suggestions. The problem is, the majority of such articles are written by proficient PC users who already know all the common threats and learned to avoid them.
The expertise of the majority of PC users is a far cry from such a proficiency. If you don’t work in IT professionally, you have no motivation to keep up with all new online threats – and you don’t have to. That’s actually why antiviruses enter the game. In each new version, development teams provide protection from new risks, taking into account the latest hacking trends.
Another myth about security software is that only paid antiviruses can provide proper protection and there is no reason to even bother with free tools. This, however, could not be further from the truth. The functionality of free antiviruses perfectly covers personal purposes, enables deep system check, and provides regular verifications. Sure, if you are a business owner, you may need more elaborate features. For beginning users, it will be borderline excessive.
The next important component of any protection is passwords. Protecting your device with a strong combination should be a common sense. Create long and varied passwords, with upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Choose a sentence from a song – you are likely to remember that easily.
Download software only from secure websites
Of course, it’s not a secret to anyone that compromised downloads is the surest way to put PC’s security in jeopardy. When you are looking for free tools, you often visit software catalogs – these huge repositories with thousands of files. Do you take the time to verify their safety?
If no is the answer, then it might be time to change your approach. From now on, try to download software from credible platforms where each added title undergoes a thorough security check. To make it easier for you, we’ve even assembled the list of our top picks.
- RocketFiles – Software Download: a perfect repository for PC beginners with tried-and-proven tools only and detailed software descriptions with screenshots;
- com: the oldest software repository with an international reputation, supported by CNet, a big name in the IT industry;
- MajorGeeks: a passion project of a team of geeks where all tools are reviewed manually personally by editors;
- TrustReview: a smart software review platform with transparent rating systems (vendors have no influence over evaluation).
The main features of a secure software website are:
- Publishing well-known tools from popular vendors. Even though installing popular programs might be boring, it’s also your safest bet.
- Transparent review system – if there are user reviews available, you should b able to leave a comment as well;
- Detailed software descriptions with screenshots;
- Includes information on the tool’s vendor and its official website.
Control the access to your PC and use safe networks
The next most common way of catching a viral threat is using a dangerous network in public place or getting your own WiFi compromised. The first threat is relatively easy to prevent since it’s based on a simple precaution. Don’t use unverified networks. Avoid public hotspots. It’s that simple.
With your own network, however, things are somewhat trickier. Usually, hackers work in a very discreet fashion, giving you no reason whatsoever to suspect any bad developments. To not be a paranoid user who’s worried about being spied on all the time, get ahead of the situation and install a tool that regularly checks the network’s security. With frequent scans, you’ll be able to spot any new threat.
If your network is compromised, isolate your Pc and switch to a new device. If your router was targeted, disconnect your computer from the router. This isolate-and-quarantine approach will prevent the threat from spreading further.
To delete the threat, reset your router to factory defaults. If a hacker has performed any change in settings, this action will cancel them all out. If you want to go the extra mile, you can get a new IP address. It’s obtained after a DHCP release, executed on your WAN connection page. After the release is completed, your ISP will provide you with a new, uncompromised address.
Let’s wrap things up
Being protected means keeping yourself informed. Keep track of your system updates, antivirus notifications, follow security trends and technology news. Overall, the only way to stay safe online is to never to take security matters lightly. Even if you have never been compromised before, it can happen anytime – and the consequences are often both expensive and dangerous.
Hence, plan your security measures beforehand and protect yourself with additional software. Remember, those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Staying on top of your device’s safety is much easier than fixing the consequences of an unexpected attack.