What is the most important thing you can do to keep malware off your computer?
It’s not using a popular antivirus. It’s not avoiding bad websites. It’s not unplugging your computer from the internet. Although these will help, they are not the first thing you need to think about in order to keep malware viruses and spyware off your computer. Not to mention, unplugging your computer from the internet is kind of inconvenient.
So, where should you start?
Make sure your computer is completely updated.
Most viruses and malware take advantage of exploits in the operating system (like Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Mac OSX, and Linux). They also take advantage of exploits in your software (Adobe Reader, Flash, Windows Office, Games and other programs you use on your computer).
Start by making sure your Operating System is fully updated.
No OS (operating system) is free from this need. This includes you Apple Mac people out there. You need to make sure that your OS is free from any holes that malware might be able to use. Most exploits are well known and are soon patched.
For Windows computers this mean visiting Windows Update.
Many Windows computers may be set for automatic updates. This is a good thing for most people. However, there is some malware out there that likes to look like the update icon in the notification bar. It never hurts to choose Windows Update from the start menu and go to the Windows Update site and check to see if anything has been missed in updates. Often, critical updates are done automatically while updates of lesser importance are not.
For other Operating Systems you will have to rely on their systems for updating.
Just make sure it is done and done soon.
Once the operating system is updated, you need to make sure your software is updated.
In most cases, you can go to the help menu and the software will have a check for updates often. In some cases, this is not enough or there is no update option. In that case, you’ll need to visit the software publisher’s website and check for an update (look in the support area).
Security professionals have seen unpatched (not updated) computers infected within hours.
All that it took was to connect the computer to the internet. Within a few hours, the worms and malware found the computer and infected it. Obviously, the first thing you need to so is make sure your computer is updated!
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