Protecting your computer against malware: prevention and management

Hardware and software are integral parts of any computer. They keep your device in working order and are the basis for all the processes and actions you conduct while on your smartphone, tablet or computer. However, no matter how optimally they work, gadgets are frequently exposed to security threats. These come in the form of malware, a portmanteau word for malicious software, and a class of programs that disrupt the good function of your computer. The damage can vary in severity, from losing access to a social media account to being the victim of a data breach or having all programs, files and features on your computer virtually erased. There are many types of malware, and while they are certainly uncomfortable to encounter and may even cause significant discomfort in your life, they are not impossible to get rid of and are even easier to prevent. 

What is malware? 

Much like the rest of the world, you are probably getting more screen time nowadays than you used to in the past. It’s all for a good reason. After all, the digital world seems to contain everything that is of interest. It is full of entertainment options, with music and video streaming services being popular worldwide, and it is also an essential space for education and staying informed. You can find out in real-time about what’s going on at the other end of the world, and you can visit museums and art galleries from the comfort of your own bed. Moreover, with the advent of tech solutions, being in the workplace has also become significantly easier. Digital programs have reduced workloads and, as they are often endowed with mistake-detection software, you don’t have to revise your work again and again or realise after you’re done that you’ve made a critical mistake for which you have to redo everything. 

With that in mind, it’s easy to see why the digital world has become indispensable to us. However, its rise in popularity has been matched by an increase in cyber criminality. Among the most common fraudulent acts is the infection of computers with malware programs. They come in different forms, ranging from ransomware, which locks your data or threatens deletion unless you pay a certain sum, to wipers, which delete all data on your hard drive, to scareware, which uses tactics that promote anxiety to convince you to purchase unwanted software. The incidence of viruses infecting computers is on the rise, with costs expected to reach a whopping $10.5 trillion by 2025. This is an outstanding sum, showing just how much havoc viruses can wreak on individuals and business entities. However, defensive strategies against malware do exist, and you must be aware of all of them to protect your devices and, by extension, the security and integrity of your data. 

Update your software 

This is perhaps one of the most obvious yet most often overlooked aspects when it comes to protecting your gadgets. Keeping your operating system updated means that your devices have the ability to withstand attacks better. Software engineers work tirelessly to secure devices against the latest attacks. There is always a new type of malware popping up somewhere, as hackers are always looking for ways to break past the defences of gadgets everywhere. Therefore, when you don’t upgrade your software, you leave your computer vulnerable in the face of threats. Very often, the operating system won’t even recognize the new program as malware, meaning that it won’t interact in any way to halt it in its progress of infecting your computer. 

Updates include necessary fixes and patches that help prevent malware from entering your computer and, in the event it breaches the defences, make it easier for it to be properly removed. They also ensure that your laptop or PC works optimally, doesn’t lag, and is in perfect order. The next time you roll your eyes when an update notification pops up on your screen, consider not postponing it for long. It can make a huge difference. 

Use antivirus software

It can seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth remembering that a powerful antivirus is vital to protecting your computer. An antivirus enables you to scan a document or program before opening it so you don’t blindly trust files from unknown sources (or well-known sources that may just be unaware their own computer is under malware attack). If you have a rising suspicion that your computer may have become the target of a virus, antivirus software can run a full scan of your computer and detect the place where the malware is located itself. Regular scans help pinpoint the problem, if it exists, as well as quarantine the affected files and work to eliminate the damaging software from your computer so you can use your device safely again. 

Another way to keep safe and guarded if you’ve become the victim of a malware attack due to someone else’s negligence is to file a complaint with Data Breach Claims. Whether your data has been made vulnerable from a fault of controlling or processing, you may be eligible for compensation following such an event. Data infringement events can take a substantial toll on your peace of mind, causing psychiatric harm in the form of anxiety, depression, and trauma response. Material damages are also common, with criminals habitually targeting bank accounts. If your money was stolen, your eligibility for compensation is almost guaranteed. In order to get a better idea of what the court proceedings entail and what you need to do in order to have a successful case and obtain the justice you deserve, you should discuss with the lawyers all that a data breach claim means. 

Hackers are getting increasingly craftier, meaning that it’s becoming more and more difficult to predict how they’ll strike and take the necessary precautions. As a general rule, you should always think twice before clicking or downloading anything that seems off or doesn’t come from a trusted source, be cautious when opening attachments, limit file-sharing and never click on pop-up windows. Staying safe takes constant vigilance.

Nathaniel Villa
Nathaniel Villa