Tips for protecting your PCs from Malware Attacks

Security threats are a part and parcel of computer usage. Every day, new malicious scripts, such as viruses, worms etc have to be dealt with. Hackers, phishing pages, spyware don’t help the cause either.

When such attacks happen, they damage the boot sector of your computer and also corrupt data stored and may also disrupt internet traffic and install scripts which create a back door entry for allowing unauthorized access to the computer system compromising the security of the sensitive data.

So how does all of this happen?
The answer is quite simple. These malicious scripts spread via the internet. The email is one of the major causes for the spread of such scripts. While viruses need a host system to replicate, the worms can easily replicate themselves even without a host system and therefore spread across the internet by displaying themselves as harmless programs such as screensavers etc.

Hackers are computer users who by making use of their expertise gain unauthorized access to your computer and are known to even install programs that encourage the spread of malicious scripts to other computers by making use of your computer as a host.
Spyware are usually placed on web sites and are known to be installed along with any legitimate program. They are installed with intentions to exploit the host machine in any way possible.

Phishing is one of the most dangerous forms of attacks. Phishers are known to send email messages claiming to be from authentic sources such as banks, financial institutes etc. They normally urge recipients to update personal information such as passwords on their phish sites which look exactly like the legitimate company sites. Once users log in, they can steal sensitive information.

You can protect your computer from such malware by:

  1. Installing an antivirus and an antispyware program. There are some all-in-one internet security suites available as well.
  2. Be wary of performing any free online scan or a free software download if you are unsure of the software vendor as some of the programs can be spyware programs or malware that compromise the security of the system.
  3. Once you have installed these security programs, keep them up to date by updating their definition files.
  4. You can also install a firewall program and configure it so that it blocks out unsolicited communication. This helps in preventing hack attack.
  5. You should also download patches for your software applications as any un patched vulnerabilities can cause a system catastrophe.
  6. Be careful of what you download on to your computer. Most free things available online are known to be containing spyware and other malware.
  7. Never open email attachments from unknown individuals. They may contain malware programs which may exploit any security vulnerabilities on your computer.
  8. Make it a point to change passwords frequently and avoid repeating passwords.
  9. Create a spam filter and delete all spam messages regularly. Avoid even looking at the contents that are marked as spam as they may contain harmful links.
  10. Stay clear from hoax messages which claim to have detected a virus on your computer or messages which claim that your password has been compromised and that you’ll need to change it soon. Believe such messages at your own risk.