How to Avoid Getting Infected by Malware

Malware is everywhere! Tech companies and tech owners alike are fighting each day to stay ahead of the curve.

While those who create malware can be crafty, there are several ways to decrease the likelihood of your devices being infected by malware.

A computer, smartphone, or tablet can get malware from a variety of places.

Here are some of the most common ways to spread malware and how you can keep yourself safe.

Beware of Shady Websites

If you're on a website that asks you to download a file or install software, think first.

Is the task you're trying to accomplish something that would require a download, like a form?

Is the website managed by someone you trust, such as a bank or a government agency?

If you're unsure, do a little research on what they're asking you to download to see if it's linked to malware.

Don't Trust Suspicious Emails

Do not open emails from addresses that aren't familiar to you. Before clicking any links, hover your cursor over them to see where they're going to take you, and evaluate if it's a safe site.

For example, if a relative emails you about a vacation and the message includes a link to pictures on their Facebook account, it's probably safe.

However, if someone you don't know emails you a list of links you've never heard of, it's safer to delete the email without clicking anything.

Close Invasive Pop-Up Windows

Some pop-up windows try to trick the user into installing malware that seems helpful.

A common one is a pop-up for a free malware scan that, when clicked on, downloads malware onto your device.

Legitimate businesses typically do not use these types of pop-ups. If an invasive pop-up appears, never click any links. Close the pop-up, if possible, or leave the site.

Download Media Wisely

File-sharing services, especially ones where music, movies, and television shows are shared illegally, are another common source of malware.

It is simple to name a piece of malware after a popular song or movie and have thousands of people download it, infecting their devices. Stick to buying or streaming your media from popular sites you can trust.

Be Cautious on Public WiFi

Public WiFi is convenient, but it's also less secure. Malware can find its way onto your device via public WiFi and compromise your personal information.

Hackers often install malware on public WiFi networks to spy on users activities, so never do anything requiring sensitive personal information via public WiFi, such as online banking or credit card purchases.

Update Your Operating System

Don't let updates slide. Keeping your operating system up to date on all of your devices is crucial if you want to protect yourself from malware.

When a new operating system is released, companies often stop updating security for old versions, and malware is able to find its way in more easily.

Run Malware Scans

To ensure your device is safe from hidden malware, install a trusted malware scanner and run scans often. Many malware scanners can run continuously in the background as well, to recognize a threat before you get infected.

Malware is constantly lurking when you go online, but you can avoid becoming a victim. Follow the advice above to stay safe from malware infections.