Computer viruses can range from inconvenient to devastating. Depending on the severity of the virus, your entire world could be turned upside down by a single infection. In addition to impacting the efficiency and overall performance of PCs, viruses can compromise sensitive personal information and financial records. As such, you’d do well to steer clear of potential infection sources at all costs. Although some of us make this look difficult, avoiding computer viruses can be a fairly simple undertaking – provided, of course, you’re working with the right information. In the interest of keeping your PC virus-free, take care to avoid making the following mistakes.
Failure to Use Dedicated Antivirus Software
These days, many people believe that they no longer need dedicated antivirus software. Since the world’s most prominent operating systems are equipped with antivirus properties, some of us mistakenly believe that this is all the protection our computers require. While this line of thinking is somewhat understandable, it’s also potentially hazardous for your PC. While the virus-fighting features found in Windows and macOS certainly have their uses, dedicated antivirus software is essential for mounting a full-scale defense against cyberthreats.
Reliable antivirus programs offer protection against an ever-expanding array of cyberthreats, provide users with updates to combat emerging dangers and are incredibly user-friendly. So, if your computer is currently without a dedicated antivirus program, you’d be wise to remedy this problem posthaste.
Clicking Dangerous Links
Many of us click so many links throughout the course of a given day that we seldom stop to consider the possibility of danger. This is particularly true for individuals who have never dealt with a large-scale computer virus. However, all it takes is one click to end your good luck streak. Since viruses and malware are commonly spread through infected sites, you’d do well to exercise caution when clicking links – particularly links from unfamiliar sources. As a general of thumb, you should avoid clicking links found in emails and social media posts from people and entities you don’t recognize.
The next time you’re presented with an unfamiliar link, check to see if it has secure socket layer (SSL) certification. An SSL certificate verifies that a site closely guards user information as it passes between servers. Fortunately, confirming whether a site is certified couldn’t be easier. Simply look for an “S” after the “HTTML” in its web address.
Short links, which are often found in social media posts, can also lead you to virus-rich sites. Since these links are abbreviated, their full web addresses are not immediately visible. To get around this, just hover your cursor over a short link to view its full web address and confirm that it has SSL certification.
Visiting Dangerous Sites
As previously stated, unsafe websites are prime sources for virus attacks. It’s fortunate, then, that are a number of easy ways to avoid accidentally visiting such sites. For starters, listen to the warnings you receive from your antivirus software, operating system, or web browser with regard to the safety of certain websites. Secondly, in addition to checking for SSL certificates, keep an eye out for trust seals. Trust seals are represented by little padlock icons found to the left of web addresses and are meant to indicate that a site works with a security partner. Additionally, clicking on a trust seal can provide you with a bevy of useful information regarding a site’s overall security.
You can provide yourself with an extra layer of protection by using dependable ad blockers. Although most browsers feature ad-blocking properties, reliable third-party ad blockers and script blockers are often required for full protection.
Computer viruses are simply the worst. Even the ones that are considered fairly minor can be a pain to fully purge from your system. Furthermore, ransomware and other hard-hitting viruses can essentially render your computer useless. That being the case, none of us can afford to take the threat presented by viruses lightly. Not only should we all possess a basic understanding of proper cybersecurity practices, but we should also take active measures to avoid the blunders discussed above. As you’ll find, a willingness to alter established behaviors can go a long way in the fight against computer viruses and other cyberthreats.