We’ve all been there before, clicked something we shouldn’t have and next thing we know, our computer is frozen with a whole heap of things running on our screen which we can’t exit.
Every day phishing attacks and malware gets more sophisticated making it harder to know what is real and what is fake. With a few skills it will massively reduce the chance of getting Malware.
1. Install an anti virus protection tool.
Windows 10 has made this one a little easier for you. They’ve built an anti virus protector called Windows Defender into their system, so if you’ve got windows 10 you’re pretty set Antivirus wise .
If you’re running an older operating system that hasn’t got windows defender installed, you could look at other Anti Virus options. There are many on the internet up for grabs. BE AWARE, when you are looking for these, there are fake websites advertising for “anti virus protection” which gets you to click a link to install what you think will protect you, however actually will infect your computer.
Do your research before you impulsively install something quite the opposite to what you’re looking for. Malware protection options I would recommend are:
2. Browse Smart
Sometimes people make getting malware just a little to easy. If you’re browsing websites such as “free movie downloads” or “spin to win $3 million dollars” you’re
almost asking to get infected.
You’ve got to think smartly about what websites you click into. Usually if the title is something along the lines of winning money, or offering things for free there’s a super high chance they’re a dodgy site you shouldn’t visit.
3. Never click links in a suspicious email
This one is a little trickier because email called phishing attacks which try to extract your information or get you to install malware are getting smarter making the email look very legitimate. There are some things you can do to test if an email is real or from a fake sender.
Firstly, check the email that it is sent from. If you’ve received an email from “apple support” saying that you need to update your password, and the senders email is firstname.lastname@example.org this is definitely ringing alarm bells.
The next test you can do is hover over any external links within the email. If they’re real it will say their legitimate website when you hover over it. When they’re fake they’ll usually show a whole heap of random letters or will be a similar domain but not a valid domain eg applecomputers.com rather than apple.com.
4. Pull the plug
If you think you’ve clicked into something that could be infecting your computer, take no risks.Pull the power plug out of your computer and contact your tech support immediately. It pays to pull out the ethernet cable as well – just to be extra safe that your computer won’t be on the network and potentially infect other computers.
There is no time to be wasted when it comes to malware, you’re better to be safe than sorry.
5. Use strong passwords
Strong passwords are a must when it comes to technology. A tip I’ve learnt is NEVER have the same password for your logins. Keep them all different. They should be long and contain capital letters and numbers. Do not have anything that can be linked to you i.e birthdays, address etc. Get a app like Lastpassword or 1Password to manage your passwords. These apps can generate random strong passwords for each site so you do not have to remember them.
6. Take care in recognizing who’s calling you
These days hackers have become more and more common in the “telemarketing” side of things. They commonly target elderly people who are more inclined to believe them.
Never give out credit card details, bank accounts, passwords or anything of this nature to an unrecognised source. Be cautious about who you’re talking, if you did not call them be suspicious and if they are trying to solicit information that is sensitive.
These scammers pose as your everyday services such as phone providers (Vodafone), IT companies (NZCS), electricity companies, anywhere that you could potentially be a customer. They’ll usually tell you that you have an outstanding amount to pay or a problem with your computer and ask you for your details to pay the bill.
If you’re ever uncertain you’re talking to the correct person, ask if you can ring them back. If they say no you’re certainly not speaking to who you think you are. Most companies will understand if you want to call them back due to security reasons. Ringing them back is the best solution to finding out who you’re speaking too. Don’t redial the number in your phone, look up their number on their website and go from there.
7. Log out of websites when finished
This one’s super important, however safe you may think you’re being during browsing. We will always pose a risk at getting malware. Logging out of a website once you’re finished is a must. As does not saving passwords on your browsers (google etc have an option to “save password”) It is a better idea not to.
If you’re ever hacked and you’ve got all of these passwords saved, you could potentially lose everything. You want to keep your risk as minimal as possible. If you think there is a chance someone has your password make sure you change it as soon as possible and turn on two factor authentication if there is an option.
So there you have it – 7 simples steps you can take on board that’ll save you from potentially being infected with Malware. We would love to hear from you, if you’ve got any questions please pop them in the question box below.