- Avast Antivirus, BitDefender Free, Microsoft Security Essentials
- MalwareBytes Anti-Malware
- Spybot Search & Destroy
- Before running any scans with any of the installed security software, be sure to FULLY update the software FIRST.
- After updating the security software, perform the deepest and most thorough scan that the software is capable of. This is usually labeled as a FULL or COMPLETE scan.
- DELETE or QUARANTINE any and all of the security software’s findings.
- Make sure you DON’T download and install any scanner/security software that solicits you to download and install its software. These scanners are blacklisted because of their questionable reputation.
- An unpatched
Windows is vulnerable and even with the “best” Antivirus installed;
malware will find its way through.
So visit http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/ to download and install the latest updates.
- Be sure to download and install all CRITICAL and SOFTWARE updates! You also may have to do several “passes” of Windows updates before all the available updates/patches are actually installed.
- Verify that your version of Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 has the most recent service pack installed. If this is not currently installed on your system, the Windows Update website will recognize this vulnerability and request you to download and install any available Service Packs and other needed updats.
- This is one of the main causes why a computer gets infected. Visiting cracksites/warezsites – and other questionable/illegal sites is ALWAYS a risk. Even a single click on the site can be responsible for installing a huge amount of malware. Don’t think: “I have a good Antivirus and Firewall installed, they will protect me” – because that’s not true… there is no “Magic Bullet”. Before you know it, your Antivirus and Firewall may already be disabled because malware already found its way on your system.
- Malware spreads via email as well, especially email attachments. The most common ones are emails telling you that your computer is infected and that you can find the removal tool in the attachment, emails telling you that your password has changed and can find it in the attachment, emails with product codes in the attachment from software that you purchased (which you didn’t), emails with attachments that are so called “Security Updates”, etc. etc.
- Don’t trust any emails like the ones listed above. Don’t even attempt to preview/open them and delete them immediately instead! It may also happen you receive an email from someone you know, but with a questionable attachment present and strange content in the e-mail’s message. In this case, this person – or someone else who has your address book in his/her address book – is infected with malware (worm/spambot) and sends these emails without being aware of it.
- Don’t click links in emails from someone you don’t know, because these links can redirect you to sites where malware gets downloaded and installed.
- Use Google Chrome or the FireFox web browser as your MAIN internet browser. These browsers does not use ActiveX controllers or BHO’s (these are programs that are a standard feature’s of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and are “exploited” vulnerabilities that hackers use to infect computers). If a specific website (such as a financial institution website) may require Internet Explorer to be used in order for you to view their site, then use Internet Explorer. But for that specific website ONLY!
- Don’t click on links inside pop-ups. ALWAYS close the windows via the "X" for the window vs. clicking "Cancel" or any other 'escapes' in the pop-up.
- Download software off of the internet from websites you know and trust. A lot of free software comes bundled with other software, including malware.
- Be careful when you are viewing videos online. Especially when you get a pop-up asking you to download a “Codec” to be able to watch the video. By default, your media player should already have the necessary codec installed to watch online videos. In the case that you’re prompted to install an additional codec while trying to watch a move online (or downloaded), it is most likely a false alert and this so-called codec may install malware.
- Don’t install plug-ins (ActiveX) if you’re not certain what it is or why it is you need it. (Unless you are attempting to perform Windows/Microsoft Updates).
- Glubble is a great FireFox add-on if you want to manage the sites your kids are allowed to see.
- If you want to install certain software, always go to the developer’s site to download the software. Then you can be sure you’re downloading and installing the right software. Be aware of the fact that certain software (especially freeware) may contain/come bundled with extra software including spyware and/or adware. So only install when you’re sure they are OK.
- The use of Torrent sites, Game Patches and Mods, Emulators; really anything "Free" is always a risk. Unless the download/host site is a reputable site, you can never be sure what you are exactly downloading. A file you are looking to download or have downloaded isn’t always what it’s made out to be.
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