Join Jess Stratton for an in-depth discussion in this video Protecting against viruses and malware, part of Learning Computer Security and Internet Safety.
- Here's a basic list of some things that you can start doing right away to protect yourself against viruses and malware from your computer. I'll be going into detail a lot more about these things in this chapter, and I've already covered some of it, but it's a great overall list. The first item is not to download any software without first investigating reviews. And a review can even be a simple Google search. The important results will bubble right to the top of Google searches, so you should know right away whether a particular piece of software is worth downloading or something to stay away from.
Beware of strange characteristics in emails too, especially if that email comes with an attachment. And by "strange characteristics" I mean emails that come from your friends, but it sounds a little out of character for them. For example maybe there's words spelled wrong that they don't usually spell wrong. Or there's lots of punctuation in it they don't normally use. So look for poor grammar, missed words, and other strange characteristics, and then finally, trust your judgement about them. If the email looks off, it probably is, and don't click on any attachments or links that's in that email.
If you do get an email forward about a possible virus alert or a good product offer that's going around, check the website called snopes.com. I'm gonna be talking about snopes.com in a future video. Make sure you always keep up to date with your operating system, virus and malware updates. This is the number one thing that's going to keep your system protected against viruses and malware. Something you can also do is check for fake ad banners. They disguise themselves as Windows dialog boxes and they look very real.
Something that you can do if you're not sure if it's a fake popup or not is put your mouse over the box. If the cursor of the mouse changes to a hand, that means it's a clickable link and therefore it's a fake Windows dialogue box. If it's too late and these banners keep popping up and simply won't go away, at this point your source of action is to immediately run your antivirus and anti-malware programs. This should take care of it provided the virus definition files are up to date. Don't engage in something called peer-to-peer file sharing.
This is software like LimeWire or Napster in which your computer acts as a server for other people to download files and you can download from them. In many cases, it's just illegal, but it's also a very easy way to accidentally download some sort of virus or malware onto your computer directly. Always know, and try to memorize the dangerous file extensions before downloading them. These file extensions are .bat, .cmd, and .exe. These can contain executable code that can run on your computer and cause viruses to happen.
Finally, never let a stranger remotely fix your computer, or a company that you've never heard of offer to remote in and fix any problems that you might be having with your computer. If you're not sure, either have somebody else do it, take it in to a reputable shop, or do a Google search on the person, or company, that's asking to come in and fix your computer. Now that you have the general list of what to do to protect yourself, in this chapter we're going to go over some very specific things that you can do to protect yourself.
- Installing updates
- Using antivirus software and protecting against viruses
- Enabling Windows Firewall
- Using password-management software
- Encrypting files that contain sensitive data
- Securing your router and protecting the SSID
- Understanding the signs of a secure website
- Checking settings for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari
- Unsubscribing from email subscriptions
- Reviewing site privacy settings
- Browsing on a public computer
- Understanding cookies
- Protecting other people's names and locations
- Fact-checking email warnings