Viruses are bad news - not only they infect the system, but could also wipe out files, access and misuse your personal data, and permanently damage your devices. Since personal computers are super susceptible to malware, it’s important to know how to avoid viruses and what steps to take to prevent getting a virus.
In this article, we have gathered expert tips and tricks on advanced virus protection.
Computer viruses and malware - what you need to know!
What is a computer virus?
A virus is a malicious program or code designed to replicate itself by attaching to a legitimate program or document and spreading from one PC to another. The malware inserts itself into the computer processes and alters its operations for the benefit of the hackers.
How can you get a virus on your PC?
Some of the most common ways to get your device infected are visiting an infected website, downloading free pirate games, music or programs, opening suspicious attachments or clicking on links contained in scam emails. Other ways to get a computer virus are plugging in infected external devices, clicking pop-up ads, installing fishy software applications or downloading unsafe documents.
What happens if a virus gets on your computer?
Viruses and malware cause a computer to slow its processes, overheat and malfunction in different ways. Most malicious programs aim to alter the computer operation, unlock access to your location, private information, personal and payment details, and gain control over programs, files or certain parts of your PC.
What are the signs your computer has a virus?
There are many signs of malware presence to look out for while identifying a virus:
Unexpected system errors and shutdowns
Rapid battery drainage
Slower computer speed
Abundance of error messages
Extensive periods of shut down or restart
New programs or toolbars you do not recognize
Homepage layout changes
If you notice more than two of these performance issues on your computer -come to JPC Computers to help you with professional advice and inspection!
Best antivirus practices to protect your computer from malware
With unlimited access to the internet in modern days, computer viruses are found all over the web. So installing anti-virus software and regular visits to the technicians for maintenance checks can save you a lot of headaches.
Here is the top industry advice on how to prevent getting a virus on your computer:
1. Install antivirus software
Anti-virus software is a must for absolutely every computer out there. Even though you can get access to free versions, the best and most reputable anti-malware tools are paid. That’s because they set you up with an advanced firewall, that provides full protection and alerts you immediately when a suspicious file is present on your computer.
2. Install ad-blocker software
Ad-blocker browser extensions will hide all the annoying ads around the web, including the malicious pop-up ads that could infect your device with a click of a button. These tools prevent misclicks and stop unwanted pages from opening automatically.
Just make sure you are downloading the ad-blocker software from an official source that confirms the safety of the extension. Your best bet to install a verified anti-ad tool is to consult a technician and let them do their magic.
3. Be cautious with scam mail and email attachments
Email phishing is super common these days for fraud, credit card violation, and identity stealing crimes. These emails usually try to present a legitimate brand, in their attempt to gather your personal data or have you click on a link that grants scammers access to the PC.
The best way to recognize a scam is to notice a suspicious email address name that does not correspond with the official domain of the company. Next, look out for bad grammar, misspellings, dubious links, and attachments. Authentic brands will never ask for your private or billing info via email.
To stay protected, only click on email links and attachments if you know or trust the source, and you are actually expecting them to send you certain files.
4. Don’t click questionable links and ads
One of the most common ways to infect your computer with malware is to click on questionable links or ads around the internet. Clicking on unverified hyperlinks increases the risk of virus infection. It can start an automatic download of malicious files aimed at harming you and your computer. And sometimes, you might not even understand that you have just opened the front door of your device to malware.
5. Avoid suspicious websites
A good way to lower the risk of catching a virus is to avoid phishy and illegitimate websites with suspicious domains and contents. There are many websites posing a great cyber threat in terms of privacy and security.
Here are a few tips on how to recognize suspicious sites:
Odd domain name (ex: mix of random numbers and letters)
Share names of authentic companies but with strange domain variations
Extra symbols in the URL
Lots of advertisements on site
Questionable pop-up banners
6. Avoid unlicensed or pirated programs
We do not advise downloading cracked or illegal versions of documents and software. Torrents and pirated apps, games, movies, music, etc, are often the perfect way to transfer a virus to your computer. So be careful with free copies of programs and files - you will most probably get a bad surprise and put your computer at risk.
7. Regularly backup your computer
Some viruses are hard to get rid of without data loss or damage. Sometimes if you fail to protect your PC, you might need to wipe all data or restore the computer to its previous versions.
For these unfortunate cases, it’s always good to have your data securely stored on a cloud, external storage device, or hard drive. Perform regular backups of the important files on your computer on a weekly basis. By doing that, you ensure no data is compromised if the PC is ever contaminated by malware.
8. Consult a specialist
An expert technician at JPC Computers can help you with all the previous points on the list. We know exactly how to scan for malware, how to run diagnostics on your computer, and what programs and add-ons to install to keep it protected from viruses.
Coming for a consultation with a computer repair expert at JPC Computers will grant you safer browsing and will significantly lower the risks of getting a virus. A PC specialist at JPC Computers can guide you and give you relevant advice on how to successfully protect your data and computer system.