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How to prevent this and other threats to your technology
Malware, short for malicious software, can be a problem for anyone. While it sometimes is only a minor inconvenience with a quick fix, it can also be extremely dangerous, with malware such as “ransomware,” which can cost thousands of dollars if one pays a ransom. It is far easier to prevent malware than it is to remove it once it infects your computer. Below are some helpful tips for mitigating the risk of being infected by or falling victim to malware.
- Download anti-virus software. This is one line of defense which could save you trouble by monitoring your computer. These software products are easy to use and will guide you through software installation, as well as malware removal.
- Keep your operating system up-to-date. Frequent updates to your computer may be frustrating or seem pointless, but oftentimes these updates contain patches to newly discovered security vulnerabilities. One way to stay safe is to install them as they become available.
- Back up your data frequently. While this may not prevent the malware from infecting your computer, it will aid in providing you with a copy of your work in the event you fall victim to a malware attack (e.g. crypto-virus).
- Use multiple, strong passwords for your accounts. On top of this, be sure to change your passwords regularly. One of the easiest ways for those with bad intentions to damage your computer or your data is to access your accounts with your information.
- Be mindful of social engineering. Nowadays, those who wish to harm your computer will sometimes pretend to be a trusted source in a “phishing” attempt. They will send an email that asks for your data or for you to click a link, thereby infecting your computer. Employ due diligence when inspecting the source of an email, and avoid suspicious links.
- Remove any software you no longer use. This is especially true for software that is no longer updated; once a company stops releasing security updates for a software product, there is no guarantee that it is going to remain secure.
- Use secure connections only. When it comes to browsing the Internet, look for “https” in the URL. If it reads “http,” then the webpage is not secure; refrain from inputting your sensitive information, banking or otherwise.
Additional links and resources
- Federal Trade Commission - Malware Defense
- US-CERT - Protecting Against Malicious Code
- National Cyber Security Centre - Protecting Organizations from Malware
For more information on preventing threats visit our Security & Fraud Prevention center.