07 Nov

How to prevent a virus infecting your computer

Viruses and malware can have a devastating effect on your computer and if you are running a business can cause downtime, data loss and money. Here are out top tips for keeping your PC virus free:

  1. Think before you click – Do not open email attachments from someone or a company that you do not know. Do not click on junk mail. Before clicking on a link, hover over it, to see where it’s going to take you and if the internet address doesn’t match the sender domain, do not click. Also beware of phishing emails. First, check that the senders email address matches the company name. For example, if the email is reported to come from Barclays, then the address should be in the format, someone@barclays.co.uk not someone@barclaysbankuk.com. Any email that asks you to provide personal information should be treated in the first instance as suspect. Common phishing emails are from Banks, HMRC, Paypal and delivery companies.
  2. Keep your operating system up to date – Whether you are running on Windows or Mac, updates are important. Some updates are security updates that will plug security leaks in the system.
  3. Install Anti-virus software – This is the most obvious tip, but it’s surprising how many people don’t run antivirus. It can also be the case that anti-virus was installed in the past, but has somehow disappeared. It is important to check regularly that your anti-virus is installed and active.
  4. Ensure anti-virus is up to date  – Without the latest information about new viruses, your anti-virus system may not protect you.
  5. Wireless security – Wireless connections are great, but always ensure that you are NOT running an open network and ensure that you are using WPA or WPA2 security. WEP security is no longer secure. Also be careful who you give the wireless password to and if in doubt, change the password.
  6. Beware of fake alerts – If you are browsing the internet and you get a message suggesting that your PC is infected or has some other problem, do not click and do not phone the number. This is a scare tactic to either get your PC infected or to scam you.
  7. Use an up to date internet browser – Older browsers like Internet Explorer are not up to scratch these days. Using Chrome, Firefox or Edge will ensure that security checks are made when you visit a site and you will be notified if there is a problem.
  8. Avoid Cold Callers – If anyone calls you to tell you that there is a problem with your PC, PUT THE PHONE DOWN. These people are scammers and once they have control of your PC, they are free to install key-loggers, backdoors and the tools that may steal information.
  9. Scan USB drives –  Before using an unknown USB drive in your PC, get your anti-virus software to scan the drive to ensure it is clean.
  10. Disable image previews – Many email programs like Outlook will automatically download images in a email. Images can contain malicious code and by downloading the image you may get infected.
  11. Make sure your Firewall is active – Windows and Mac both have built in firewalls, but it’s a good idea to make sure the are switched on. Some third party anti-virus systems have their own firewall, again, make sure it’s switched on.
  12. Backup – The biggest threat to data these days is ransomware. If you get hit, your files will be inaccessible unless you pay a ransom. That’s if you get them back at all. Once ransomware is on your PC, it can also infect regular USB backups and any network drives. The only way to protect against this is to backup to the cloud to a system that keeps multiple revisions of your files.

If you have concerns about your computer security, we can help. Call us on 0203 637 6370

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