5 (Actionable) Tips to Prevent Malware Attacks and Stay Secure in 2020

The rapid growth of online activities and the increasing number of services provided or aided through the internet, it may be worth your time to ask yourself how secure are your digital presence. Hackers and cybercriminals develop new and destructive ways every day to enter your computer systems and cause damage. Their proliferation is not without fail as time and time again, they have successfully infiltrated both private and public entities and demands ransom for the data they have locked up. Malware is a program designed to destroy or corrupt your computer system once executed. There are different types of malware and may have varying effects, but the end result will always be a loss of data and evident data breach. Your complete protection doesn’t come automatically with the software and hardware you purchase. Some of the measures you need to take requires some action on your part to make sure your own security is upheld. 

Here are some actionable tips that you can do to protect yourself from malware attacks this year:

Install an Antivirus and keep it updated

Antivirus software is designed to combat malware that is attempting or has entered your computer. Having one is a necessity that all must afford to purchase. There are a number of available software in the market. It has been heard that Bitdefender and Kaspersky are two best antivirus providers for years. They have received high recognition from independent labs that conducted a series of tests, both in a system and in real-world conditions. Install one now and don’t fall victim to these cyber attacks. As mentioned, there is a lot of malware developed every day designed to infect as many computer systems as possible. With our connectivity through the internet, we are always exposed to this type of threat. However, antivirus providers also grant us renewed protection with updates and patches. It is important that we don’t ignore those updates and install them regularly, regardless of the hassle.

Be careful when opening email and attachments

One way malware enters the computer system is through an email attachment. Over the years the way it presents itself has evolved. Before it was just any random email address that can easily be detected as suspicious and therefore discarded right away. But now malware is attached to the emails of someone we know, in the form of an attached file or a link. If in doubt you can call or text that person if he or she did actually send you an email with that attachment or link. E-mail scanning and spam filtering is also available to help you screen out emails that were sent in mass quantities. It also scans your email for possible malware attached to it.

Watch out for phishing tactics

Some of these hackers use social engineering to take advantage of the system’s vulnerabilities. One way is that they will send you a legitimate-looking email from your bank or any provider you’re subscribed to and they will divert you to a page where they’ll ask for your credentials. A trojan type of malware also acts in the same way, a message pops up telling you to install a certain file or go to a website. Keep an eye on the URL of the website even if it looks legit, there will always be a slight difference to the original portal. Also, don’t just go and install something just because a pop-up message tells you to. There must always be a need for the installation or you yourself want to install a particular app.

Improve password strength

Don’t use obvious passwords like Password or well-known dates in your life. You can either add something and mix things to make it complicated. Also, you must change your password regularly. The malware doesn’t only spread through the internet, some people go to your place of work disguised as IT support. They sometimes ask for your username, and absent password they can’t access the system so it’s important that they can’t easily guess it.

Don’t leave your computer unattended and unsecured

Like I said, malware can also infect you through a person with physical access to your computer. If you are in the office or in a coffee shop with a lot of people you don’t know it is a good habit to always lock your computer when you step away from it even for a while. A strong password is useless if you leave your computer open and unattended, so locking your PC just like when you’re leaving the house is a good practice.

Doing only one thing of these tips above may not guarantee your safety, but doing all in combination with each other will significantly minimize the chances of being affected. Companies have bled out millions of dollars due to malware attacks and a lot of individual information has been compromised because of these types of online intrusions. In this day and age, our online presence should have the same level of security as our physical valuables.