How to Protect Your Computer from Malware

In this technological age, nearly everyone has a home computer or laptop and along with these advances have come people who spend a good deal of time developing viruses and malware with the express purpose of destroying files on your computer or your entire system. You need to know how to protect your computer from these kinds of attacks.


The first thing you need to know is exactly what malware is and how you can get it on your computer. Malware is actually a simplified phrase that encompasses viruses, spyware and programs that install and/ or replicate themselves on your computer without your permission. If you were wondering why anyone would spend precious time developing this kind of software the reasons are as varied as the people creating them. In some cases malware is used to track your movements on the web, this information can then be sold to advertisers who will target you with specific offers based on this information. Other times the motive is more sinister, someone may want to steal your personal information, crash your computer or a whole host of other things, which are detrimental. Bottom line, malware is bad and you will want to protect your computer from it.


Your first line of defense against malware programs is your updates. Microsoft Corporation releases security updates on a regular basis that are geared to preventing viruses and other malware infections. When you first get your computer and run the set up programs there should be an option to turn on automatic updates, if not this is easily done through your control panel. The steps will vary a bit depending on which version of Windows you are running but a general search will render the information you need.


A good quality anti-virus is necessary for any computer that will be used to surf the internet. You have two choices for protection, purchase or free. There is debate on which offers the most protection however many people have used programs like Avast or AVG antivirus for years without any problems. If you are going to be handling a lot of personal financial accounts online, you might want to choose a program that offers maximum protection such as Norton or one of the many commercial antivirus programs.

Not all malware can be classified as a virus, as mentioned above; therefore, an antivirus will not protect you. Spyware, adware and Trojan horses can allow access to sensitive information and neither the updates nor the antivirus will remove them. Updates may prevent them in the first place but if one slips in before you get an important update you are in trouble. There are many programs available that will routinely sweep your computer for malware of this type. Like antiviral software, there are both paid and free versions.


These are but a few of the many tips you can use to keep your computer safe. Other things you will want to consider are firewalls, avoiding malicious sites and taking care when opening email. The best rule on email is if you do not know, the sender do not open any attachments, period. Protecting your computer is very important, especially if you store personal information or work related projects on it, you can never be too careful when it comes to malware.

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