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5 Tips for Malware Prevention

September 04, 2015

If you notice that your computer is performing slower than usual and is plagued with pop-ups, you could have a malware infection- Here are some tips to prevent a future attack.

Malicious software, commonly known as malware, affects computers everywhere, and is a frustrating, costly, and time consuming issue for those affected. Malicious software programmers are on the lookout for holes in your security measures, so it is vitally important for the sake of your company to make every effort to protect your system. If your system does happen to unfortunately be infected with malware, there are some methods of recovery available, and learning the weak spots of your system through an attack can be a blessing in disguise.

Common symptoms

So, how do you know if your system has been infected? There are several tell-tale signs that your system has been infiltrated by hackers, including:

  • Constant pop-ups- Hackers will often install pop-ups in your system that warn you of a virus detected on your computer that you need to get rid of by clicking on the pop-up.
  • Slow, sluggish performance- Malware viruses can run tasks on your computer system that take up a lot of resources making your computer unusually slow. If you’re not using many applications on your computer and it is running extremely slow, you are likely dealing with a malware infection.
  • Added toolbars to web browser/ strange settings- Malware software programmers can install additional toolbars and change your home page and search page settings. These settings might revert back every time you restart your computer even if you adjust or delete them.
  • Firewall protection is disabled all of a sudden- If you find that your antivirus or firewall protection is suddenly disabled, a hacker has likely deactivated it.
  • Frequent error messages- If you are constantly getting interrupted by error messages saying your files cannot be opened or programs cannot run, you are probably under a malware attack.

5 tips for prevention

If you’ve experienced the symptoms above and dealt with a malware infection, you probably learned a few lessons on the weak spots of your system. In addition to installing antivirus or malware software, here are some tips on protecting your system from an infection:

  1. Keep malware software up to date and run regular scans with the software. Aim to scan your system once each week.
  2. Don’t use open Wi-Fi and make sure that your own network is secure. Make sure that the Wi-Fi you use requires a strong password. Try not to broadcast the name of your Wi-Fi network (SSID). When you are out and about, don’t use the free, non-encrypted Wi-Fi- you never know who’s connected to it at the same time.
  3. Do not open strange attachments or click on pop-ups. It may seem like a no-brainer, but avoid email attachments from individuals or businesses you have never heard of. Websites with pirated material are good to avoid, too. If you are sent a link in an email, hover over it before clicking to see where the link is taking you exactly. Be sure to scan files from the internet or emails through your virus software before downloading them.
  4. Back up ALL files. To save pain and frustration in the long run, back up all your files. Try to have your files stored in at least three places- your main workspace, a separate storage device, and an off-site location.
  5. Use strong passwords. If you use the same password for every account, consider a change. Once a hacker successfully gains access to one account, it will only take seconds for him/her to use that same password to gain access to your other accounts. Your bank account password is especially sensitive- be sure to use a unique combination of numbers, symbols, upper and lower case letters.

New cyber threats are emerging each day, and cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated with their hacking abilities, making it extremely crucial to implement these security precautions in your systems.

For more cybersecurity tips and preventive measures, download our whitepaper: “Cybersecurity Update: Own IT, Secure IT, Protect IT

Questions? Contact us.

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