New year, new ideas, new goals, new threats. In the past five years, malware infections have increased rapidly with things like Ransomware reporting millions of such infections.
By looking at these reports, we can safely assume that this year is not going to be any different.
We need to protect our sites against cybercriminals and malware. Here are five secure ways to do that:
- Use security programs
- Use your head
- Use a VPN
- Keep your computer updated
- Disable 3rd party plugins that you don’t use
Use Security Programs
Security programs are the most basic thing that a Windows computer must have. Linux and other operating systems are a different story. Let’s focus on Windows for now.
The good thing about security software is that it has the ability not only to easily remove malware but can also prevent a malware infection from happening in the first place. That can make all the difference in the world.
An ideal, common, security configuration, is to use an Antivirus and an Anti-Malware at the same time.
Yes, using two security programs at the same time is forbidden. But, that only goes for using two Antivirus or two Anti-Malware programs at once.
Having only one Antivirus and one Anti-Malware is fine because the two of them detect different kinds of threats and are meant to work with each other.
As for which ones to use, it comes down to personal preference. MalwareFox and Avast should make a good pair in general though.
Use your Head
Security software is at best, a second layer of protection. The first one is always the user. That is if you can add the operating system as an exception.
If you make a mistake and end up clicking on a malicious link, then chances are that your security configuration will protect you.
However, no security program is flawless. There is always the chance that something will manage to bypass the defenses of an Antivirus or an Anti-Malware.
So, if you’re going to be chasing after malware, then you might as well burn your computer right now.
You need to use your head. Avoid suspicious links, ads, emails, and try to stay away from non-legitimate freeware. If something looks too good to be real, then it most likely is.
Just pay attention to what you’re clicking on and be wary of the information that you provide online.
Use a VPN
VPN stands for Virtual Private Server. It’s more helpful for privacy issues rather for security ones but it’s still a nice thing to have.
A VPN conceals your IP address which somewhat makes you anonymous and even makes it look like you’re browsing the web from an entirely different country.
Other than that, it encrypts ingoing and outgoing traffic so that no one but you will know what you’re looking at.
Do keep in mind that by using a VPN you’re entrusting all of your browsing information to your VPN provider. Which is why people often don’t recommend free VPNs.
Other than that, don’t think for a second that you can utilize the anonymity of a VPN to do nasty things.
Any logical VPN provider would rather give away a customer to the police than facing jail time for protecting a cyber criminal.
Keep your Computer Updated
Imagine yourself using your computer like any other day and getting infected with malware out of nowhere without touching anything. That’s more or less how an infection from a zero-day exploit looks like.
It’s at the very least a frustrating experience, which is why we need to constantly keep our computers updated.
Security updates/patches are an important aspect of computer security and are often overlooked by the average person.
If you don’t believe me, check out the zero-day exploit which WannaCry Ransomware utilized to infect millions of people.
Disable 3rd Party Plugins That You Don’t Use
As mentioned before, zero-day exploits are quite possibly the worst thing that can happen to a PC user.
But, did you know that browser plugins are also susceptible to this? Java and Adobe Flash Player have been known to be huge targets for this kind of thing.
Mostly because there are thousands, if not million people using them, without even knowing that they do so.
Cybercriminals generally aim to create malware for the most widely used platforms. Which is precisely why some 3rd party plugins are dangerous to have.
If you don’t use/need Adobe Flash Player, then go and remove it right now. Literally, stop reading and do it. I’m waiting.
Not only Flash Player but any plugin which you don’t need. Anyone of them that is currently residing in your computer could have a zero-exploit.
All you need to do is to visit a malicious website which takes advantage of that exploit and boom, you’re infected.