Avoiding Computer Viruses - Staying Safe Online
We’ve been living with computer viruses ever since the first ones started to appear in the 1980s.
11:33 20 October 2020
Of course, since then they have become increasingly sophisticated and have been joined by other underhand activities such as phishing and social engineering.
As anti-virus companies have battled the increasing numbers of viruses, written by bored individuals and criminal gangs looking to steal sensitive data, computer users across the world have also had to keep up with the many ways of protecting both their computers and their data. It seems that no person or organisation is immune. Some of the most destructive viruses have managed to bring down computers across the globe, inflicting billions of dollars or euros in damage.
How do viruses spread?
The most common ways of being infected with a computer virus include opening email attachments or links, downloading software, not keeping software programs updated, online advertisements and social media. Unfortunately, our lives are becoming progressively driven online which puts us in increasing danger of being affected by viruses, phishing and other criminal activities.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. We just need to be a little bit more vigilant and maintain a healthy level of care when going online. There are several ways we can stay safe online as follows:
Invest in a good anti-virus program
There are free and paid-for versions available and although some free versions do an adequate job of protecting you, there are also several out there that include annoying pop-up adverts and may not be as up-to-date as the paid-for versions. Consider Investing in a program that covers all the devices you own and does not sacrifice performance for speed by slowing down your internet access.
Keep your software updated.
This goes for all programs on your computer or devices, including operating systems. Make sure you update all your key programs; many push out updates to cover newly-discovered security issues and you can always check before downloading what is included.
Keep your devices and network secure
Everyone needs good password protection and, ideally, this should be combined with biometric authorisation. This is particularly important where you are using the same device for online payment activity such as banking, online shopping or even when collecting your winnings at the payout page of an online casino and visiting https://casinopilot.ca/guide/payout. Ensure any password you use is difficult to guess and do not use the same password for multiple sites.
Also, try to avoid public wifi but if you must use it, then invest in a VPN to add another layer of security. Some anti-virus packages also offer a VPN feature as part of their subscription.
“Think before you click”
This phrase has been used in multiple awareness campaigns, and for good reason. Be wary of all email content - even if it’s an email from someone you know. Avoid clicking on links in emails without first checking if the email is from an authorised sender. You can also check where the link is sending you by hovering over it first. Phishing emails are usually fairly easy to spot by checking the email address of the sender and looking for spelling and grammar mistakes in the email.
Yes, we live in an age where criminals are lurking in every corner of our digital world. However, if we install reputable anti-virus programs, implement strong privacy settings on social media, use watertight passwords, avoid untrustworthy websites and think before we act, we can continue to enjoy our lives online, safely and securely.