The connected world we live in poses a significant security risk, as people increasingly expose their personal information. Cybercriminals have devised many ways to lay their hands on sensitive data, malware being one of them. In this post, we go over tips on how to get rid of malware, so you can protect your device from hacking.
First off, what is malware? Malware is referred to malicious programs spread over the Internet aiming to compromise data by infecting the user’s operating system. Malware is capable of all kinds of actions, from deleting data and modifying the device’s functionality to identity theft and tracking user behaviour. Sometimes unnoticeable, it finds its way into the system after the user clicks a malicious link or downloads, often illegally, compromised programs.
What devices are more susceptible to malware than others? Older devices and ones running an unlicensed version of an operating system are prone to catching a virus. Let’s take a look at several anti-malware measures you can take.
Secure your device with antivirus
The best way to protect your computer is to install proven antivirus software. It blocks malware, and in case a virus finds a way into your computer, the program can remove it safely. Even if a virus infects your device without you noticing, running regular antivirus scans can help you prevent the damage.
Update your apps and operating system regularly
When you shun system updates, it may open the doors for hackers who can spot flaws in older software versions and exploit them to hack into your system. For example, once the Apple’s team discovered that cybercriminals are actively using the vulnerabilities of iOS 14.3 version to infect devices with malware, the company encouraged the users to update to the 14.4 version as soon as possible.
Be vigilant with emails from unknown senders
The rule of thumb here is to never click on links within emails from senders you don’t recognize. Although disguised as something legitimate, those links aim to either take you to a malicious website or ask for confidential data. While many people are aware of this peril, a good percentage of users will still catch a virus from an email containing an attachment or a link. To keep this risk at bay, it’s best to ignore such emails altogether.
Back up your valuable data
Some viruses can encrypt data and damage it. Thus, when you back up your files, you tuck their copies away in a safe place, so you can easily access and restore them. If your device is infected, you can just format the disk, reinstall the operating system and restore data. Several options for backup include an external hard drive, an online backup service, and cloud storage. You can transfer your data to Google Drive or iCloud, so your files will be stored in the cloud.
Use Google Safe Browsing
It’s a good idea to check a website you suspect of being malicious before you open it. Google’s technology, Safe Browsing, scans billions of websites per day looking for unsafe ones. You can use this feature to check specific websites for malicious content. Just copy and paste the URL into a search box and receive a safety report on the website you’d like to visit.
Download apps on trustworthy websites
Malware can be spread through websites that sell what at first glance may seem as legitimate software. Thus, you should always get apps on trustworthy stores, for example, Google Play or Apple Store. The big brands go the extra mile to ensure that the software you download with them is safe, as they have the needed security policies in place that hackers can’t circumvent. To see whether or not an app is safe to download, you can get more information on the publisher by clicking on their name and contacts along with a list of their previously published apps.
Your device’s security is in your own hands. Fortunately, it’s easy to protect your computer from malware. So, to stay on the safe side, follow these rules:
- Run regular updates on your operating system and programs;
- Avoid opening links within unsolicited emails;
- Use cloud or external storages to backup your data;
- Install proven antivirus software;
- Use Google Safe Browsing to check unknown websites;
- Download apps at trusted stores.