There’s no denying that virus developers are a crafty bunch. Whenever a new breakthrough is made in the world of cybersecurity, they waste no time in attempting to find ways around it. As people become increasingly aware of the dangers posed by virus developers, malware spreaders and other cybercriminals, these unsavory characters have stepped up their game in a number of ways. However, this isn’t to say that keeping your PC safe is a losing battle. In fact, a little bit of security know-how, diligence and basic common sense can help keep your computer virus-free for many years to come.
Use Dedicated Antivirus Software
While it’s true that Windows is equipped with a number of built-in virus-fighting elements, dedicated antivirus software is needed to achieve maximum security. Rather than view the aforementioned elements as a substitution for dedicated software, you should regard them as one-half of your computer’s antivirus taskforce. As you’ll quickly find when shopping around for antivirus software, your options are anything but limited. To help narrow down your choices, consult professional reviews on prominent tech outlets and consumer reviews on popular feedback sites. This will provide you with a solid understanding of which programs are best-suited to your cybersecurity needs. Additionally, any program you select should receive regular software updates and provide readily-available user support.
Run Regular Virus Scans
Some viruses are able to slip by undetected and remain on computers for months – if not years. To help nip this problem in the bud, make a point of running regular virus scans with both your operating system and dedicated antivirus software. As the name suggests, these scans serve to detect and identify any viruses that may have slipped through the cracks. On most modern PCs, virus scans consume very little system resources and can be carried out in the background without interfering with other tasks. As such, there’s no reason you shouldn’t run virus scans on a consistent basis. At minimum, take care to run at least one scan every 24 hours. To be extra-vigilant, you can schedule scans to automatically take place at various times and intervals throughout the day.
Keep Windows Up to Date
As the world’s foremost operating system, Windows has to meet some lofty expectations. However, like any O.S., Windows is in a constant state of growth, and in order to get the most out of it, you’ll need to install system updates as they become available. Many of these updates are created to combat new and emerging security threats, and the longer you put off installing them, the more vulnerable your PC will be to a host of cyber threats. Since updating often requires people to stop what they’re doing for a short period of time, many of us place updates on the backburner and allow them to pile up. While not wanting to endure a minor inconvenience is certainly understandable, taking a small computer break is far less cumbersome than dealing with viruses and malware. So, the next time a system update becomes available, make installing it a priority.
Steer Clear of Suspicious Websites and Links
Unsecured websites and malicious links are among the most common vehicles through which viruses are spread. In the interest of avoiding them, you may need to amend your browsing habits. One easy way to tell if a site is secure is confirming that the URL begins with “HTTPS,” as this indicates that the site is protected by a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate. You should also look for a padlock icon next to the URL, since its presence signifies that communications between your browser and the web server are encrypted. In addition to avoiding websites that lack sufficient protection, never click on links found in emails from unfamiliar senders or social media posts from people you don’t know.
The number of cyber threats is on the upswing – and will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future. With viruses and malware seemingly lurking around every corner, we should all be working to keep these threats off our computers. Fortunately, this is far from an uphill fight. Taking the previously discussed measures can be a boon to your cybersecurity efforts and help keep your PC free of viruses and various other threats.