We’ve all dealt with a computer virus or a piece of malware at some point in our lives. There’s nothing fun about it; it’s stressful, demanding and extremely frustrating. Our computers often slow down or behave in an unusual way when they’ve been infected by a virus. Even if it’s not a virus, it’s possible that you have some kind of malware on your system. And this can be just as malicious or annoying.
But, there’s no need to be concerned, as we can take several steps to safeguard ourselves when doing anything online. Whether we’re sending important emails, shopping, browsing social media or even online gaming. This last point is especially important for anyone living in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. The most practical safety precaution is to know the sites that you are accessing, and the best way to do so is to read reviews from a trusted online gambling comparison site designed specifically for Arabic players; gambling is illegal in many of these countries, so gaming should only be done on trusted sites that protect the customer’s identity and ensure anonymity when creating player accounts, especially when dealing with money. So, let’s look at the top five ways you may protect yourself from computer viruses.
Antivirus/malware software is a must
Antivirus software blocks and destroys viruses – hence the name. In other words, antivirus software prevents virtual viruses from spreading. It can detect and eliminate the threats before you’re even aware they exist.
Microsoft provides a free integrated Windows security package when you pay for a Windows licence. Avast is another example of software that you can download for free. While a free version is always better than nothing, it is always advised to take a look at the paid options for added security and more features.
While the first step is to put antivirus protection in place; the second is to maintain it. Make sure it’s up to date and that you set it up to check for updates at regular intervals, or, even better, let it check automatically in the background. Keep in mind that using this software may slow down your computer, so one solution is to run it at night when you are not using your computer.
Maintain your operating system
To make their software safer and more reliable, tech companies regularly release software updates. These updates are critical to prevent cybercriminals from exploiting security loopholes and forcing devices to download viruses.
How can you ensure you’re covered? Download patches regularly. If you’re still using a system from two years ago, you’ll be exposing yourself to any viruses or malware that have arisen since then. It’s definitely good practice to install all new software updates as and when they’re released.
Know your network
The majority of our computers connect to the Internet, printers or files via a Wi-Fi connection. So, it’s really important to make sure you use a password to access it and ensure the password is a strong one. Additionally, we recommend using WPA or WPA2 encryption and keeping your network’s name (SSID) secret.
When you’re out in public places such as cafes, libraries, and especially airports, don’t use the ‘free’ open (non-encrypted, non-passworded) Wi-Fi. If you do have to use this public Wi-Fi, be cautious. Avoid accessing your bank account or running payment transactions, for example. If you can access it without any problems, just think about what a trained individual could do with it.
Multiple strong passwords are a good idea
Use a different password for each account, especially for bank accounts. Most of the time, we use the same email or username for all of our accounts, which isn’t the best idea. And if we’re in a hurry, it’s tempting to use the same passwords as well. Avoid this at all costs. Be sure to create complex passwords to safeguard your data. Ideally, passwords should contain a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols and be at least eight characters long. Passwords and personal information should never be shared with anyone, even friends and family.
Think before you click
Don’t visit websites that offer pirated content. Only open email file attachments from people or companies you know. Spam emails often include links that you should avoid clicking. When hovering over a link (especially shorter URLs), you can see where it takes you. If you have to download a file from the Internet, make sure you scan it before you run it. Most antivirus software will automate this process, but it’s best to double-check.
So, what can we do to prevent computer viruses? Well, much of the protection begins with you. Install antivirus software and upgrade your programs and software regularly. In addition to firewalls and pop-up blockers, use strong passwords to secure your computer. As a result of all these tools, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your computer and all of your personal information are secured by the best protection whenever you browse the Internet.