A Quick Guide on How to Protect Your Home Computer from Viruses
Updated: Jul 9, 2021
Ed. Note: We hope you grownups find these tips useful! They are topics we teach students about in Cyber Civics.
Cyberattacks, viruses, digital scams, and phishing attempts have become more stealthy and more harmful. So it is important to devise a clever strategy to keep your digital assets safe. This may sound overwhelming, but it is actually pretty simple, here are various suggestions to keep your computer safe from malware attacks and viruses.
Avoid Clicking on Random Links
A basic, and important rule, is to avoid clicking on random links because they may be hiding malware waiting to be installed on your computer. According to Microsoft, more than 40% of viruses and malware attacks happen because of this standard error on part of the user. Ideally, you should ignore such links, this includes unrecognized links on websites you do not know or trust, or in the emails you receive.
It is important that you keep all the software installed on your computer updated. As a matter of fact, you should make it a habit to perform routine updates for software to avoid any possible exploitative attacks. Sometimes people may need antivirus software to keep their home computers safe from viruses and malware. To use antivirus software, you don't have to pay a hefty fee because there are various antivirus software offering free trials for free service packages that will keep your computer safe from any malware or virus attack.
Keep a Backup of Your Digital Assets
Are you taking the precaution of maintaining a regular and consistent backup of your digital files? If this is something that you often overlook, the first thing you should know is that you are not alone. Unfortunately, more than 20% of home computer users forget this critical step. If you are not backing up your digital files, this means all new digital assets are at extreme risk of getting deleted after a virus attack, and you will not even have the option to restore the data.
Use a Smart Password
This is something not everyone takes seriously. If you come up with a complex password combination, it may be hard for you to remember, and because of this many people often don't go for a strong or complex password. A strong password is a combination of numbers, symbols, and letters. Some people only use a very simple password, and they also tend to make the mistake of keeping the same password for everything. This is a big mistake.
It is recommended that you use a combination of different letters, numbers, and symbols to develop a purely unique password in order to maximize security. You should also keep the length more than nine characters to make it hard to guess by hackers or anyone else trying to gain access to your digital assets. If you find it hard to memorize complicated passwords, then you should consider using a free password vault service to help you keep a secure record of your passwords.
Block Those Pop-Ups
Pop-ups are not only a frustrating distraction, but they also put your computer at risk of cyberattacks that can threaten the integrity and safety of your home computer. You should avoid clicking on any pop-up links because they can easily put even the savviest computer gurus at risk of losing data.
How to Assess If Your Home Computer Is Under Attack
You can look for subtle signs to determine whether your home computer is under attack. If your computer has been crashing or has slowed down or is showing an error message recurrently, it may be an indication of a malware attack. Other indicators of such an attack or a virus may include a sudden restart or shutdown, strange toolbars, error windows, or a code execution notice. Your laptop battery may also be draining much faster than normal.
Once you have grounds for suspicion, you must take the necessary steps to secure your computer by updating or scanning it. Nowadays, it is quite easy to secure your home computer from virus or malware attacks, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to do so.
Spending a few minutes considering the options above on how to protect your home computer from cyberattacks is time well spent.
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