No matter how many advances are made in the field of cybersecurity, viruses will be a problem for as long as computers are around. Although some viruses are fairly benign and easy to get rid of, others can compromise your data and make your system unusable. Unfortunately, despite the ever-present threat viruses represent, a sizable number of us fail to take cybersecurity seriously until it’s too late. Such negligence is made even more vexing by the fact that protecting your computer from viruses is a fairly simple undertaking. So, if you’re ready to beef up your computer’s defenses and keep viruses at bay, the following measures are sure to help.
Invest in Good Antivirus Software
In the fight against computer viruses, dependable antivirus software can be an invaluable ally. Although many operating systems provide some level of virus protection, you’ll need to invest in dedicated antivirus security software if you wish to enjoy maximum protection. Reliable antivirus software will effectively detect and neutralize a constantly-growing assortment of viruses, malware and other cyber threats. In addition, good software will provide users with frequent updates that are created in response to new and emerging threats. Of course, to enjoy the full benefits of these updates, you’ll need to install them as they become available instead of letting them pile up. Failure to install pertinent updates in a timely manner will leave your computer vulnerable to the threats those updates were designed to combat.
Some antivirus programs can be used to scan attachments and installation files for threats. Since these are popular vehicles through which viruses and malware are spread, you’d do well to take advantage of this feature whenever possible. So, before opening files from unfamiliar sources, make sure to give them a thorough scan.
Keep Your Operating System Up to Date
As previously stated, keeping your antivirus software up to date is essential to maximizing your security efforts. However, said software isn’t the only thing you’ll need to update on a consistent basis. Operating system updates, which are often created in response to the emergence of new viruses and other cyber threats, can often be just as important to overall security. In fairness, system updates generally take longer than software updates and aren’t always able to be installed in the background. So, if you’re in the zone with a project or having fun online, the temptation to ignore update notifications can be overwhelming. Still, pausing whatever you’re doing to install important updates is preferable to falling prey to a virus because you couldn’t be bothered to protect yourself.
If you can’t trust yourself to install system updates in an expedient fashion, set your O.S. to install them automatically. People who don’t wish to be bothered during work hours should set their operating systems to carry out update installations during the overnight hours. Most antivirus programs also allow users to opt for automatic updates instead of manual ones.
Exercise Caution when Visiting Unfamiliar Websites
Unsecured websites are often hotbeds of virus and malware infection. Additionally, certain sites exist for the sole purpose of spreading malicious software. That being the case, it pays to exercise caution when visiting unfamiliar websites. For example, if your browser, operating system or antivirus software informs you that a site is a security risk, you’d be wise to heed their advice.
You should also keep an eye out for sites that lack Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates. An SSL certificate serves to encrypt the data that travels from the user’s computer to the target website and back. In essence, SSL ensures that data is able to travel safely between browsers and web servers. To discern whether a site has SSL authentication, simply look at its URL. If the URL begins with “https” instead of “http,” the site possesses an SSL certificate.
Antivirus security should be a priority for every computer user. A single virus infection stands to compromise important data and negatively impact your computer’s functionality. Even if you’ve never been inconvenienced by a virus in the past, one slip-up is all it takes to throw your false sense of security into disarray. Given how easy effective virus protection is to achieve, there’s no excuse for placing it on the backburner.