How Do I Prevent My Computer from Getting Viruses and Spyware
Needless to say, “Prevention is always better than cure.”
Though there are a bountiful of anti-virus programs available in the market. However not all of them are subtly capable (100% efficient) of scanning and removing all types of viruses/spywares/Trojans/worms and other security threats. Hence, rather than falling into the viscous trap of viruses and then trying their anti-dotes, it is much better to prevent the advent of viruses as far as possible.
However, we are not inferring that you should not have an anti-virus program. An anti-virus program is an absolute prerequisite, no matter what sort of user you are. Nevertheless, this is just a sagacious attempt, to prevent such dialog boxes (see below) from popping up on your screen.
Install an Effective Anti-virus Program
The first and foremost step to prevent a malicious virus attack is having a quality anti-virus program installed in your system. PLEASE DO NOT INSTALL FREE ANTI-VIRUS PROGRAMS. Apparently, there are no free lunches and so, avoid using anti-virus programs that are available for free.
More often, they come with an embedded virus which would make your computer work slower and would leave you prone to virus attacks. Buy a licensed version of some elite anti-virus programs like Kaspersky, Bit Defender, Norton, etc. Make sure you keep it updated, perform regular scans and never turn-off the Real-time scanning system.
The next step is to surf smart. Install security plugins in your browser like Ad-blocker and Spam filter which would avoid ad-banners and pop-ups to get popped out autonomously. Besides, make sure you do not install any software from an untrusted source or click on any site banner, which claims to have found a bug and requests for a software installation to remove it. There are plugins available like WOT for Firefox which check the authenticity of the website before you actually land on it. Also do not use any toolbars except Google or Bing.
Get a Firewall
Another security measure can be installing a firewall. There are two types of firewalls: Hardware-based and software-based. However, though the former one is more effective, both perform the same task of preventing unauthorized access of your network or node by a third part. It creates a virtual wall, (as shown below) which blocks such malicious incoming/outgoing requests.
Another prime factor in the spread of computer viruses so haphazardly all over the world is the Auto run functionality.
Disable Auto-run feature of Windows Vista/XP/7, which allows a program to be run automatically. Though the feature is extremely useful, crackers worldwide are editing the autorun.inf file to run malicious scripts without the knowledge of user.
Avoid/ Restrict Use of Outlook
As far as possible, avoid the use of Outlook. The software has some serious loopholes and it can be used illegally by various spywares or malware programs to track your activity or steal your identity. Also, in case the usage is inevitable, make sure you disable loading of images in outlook and resist the temptation to click on the images, which come embedded in the mail.
Restricting User Access
Another innovative method to prevent spyware attacks is to not use an admin account for web-related work. Eminently, for malicious software to get installed and harm your computer, it needs to have administrator privileges. Most people surf the web from their admin accounts making their job simpler. However, it is advisable though not customary to use a limited access account for surfing the web and replying to emails.
And lastly, it is very important to stay updated with the world. Always look to maintain the latest versions of software you use, do not skip OS updates and get your anti-virus database updated regularly. In recent times, viruses spread through social networking platforms by spamming links, which in turn steal your online presence. Hence, to combat such activities, it is important to stay updated with the happenings and to be smart enough to spot them.