Catching a virus is one of the most common tech-related problems your computer can face. However, avoiding viruses and malware is an easy deal if you act smart and know how to keep your data and device safe. Safe browsing habits are ideally developed with learning how to keep your machine in working order, regularly looking for bugs, and avoiding dubious links and sites.
Obviously, you can always protect your machine by using antivirus or antimalware software like Bitdefender, or any other one that you think is the best antivirus for PC – let Google be your best friend in that matter.
Reliable antivirus software helps your computer to block out all unwanted bugs and malware that could put your machine’s health at risk. All you have to do is click on the free antivirus download option at the website of the antivirus you pick—although it’s not necessary that every company offers their software for free.
However, malware detection programs work best when the version being used is up-to-date. Hence, you should always remember to keep your OS and other running programs updated and backed up. Keeping your data backed up is also an important step towards building a strong cyber-security network. Your device can catch a virus in multiple ways; it can get one while sharing data, or while using someone else’s pen drive or different USB cord, but the most common way to catch a virus is online. Here are few ways with which you can catch a virus online:
- Suspicious links/sites – Almost every other virus which enters your computer through online sources happens when you click on some unknown link or site or when you end up downloading media or installing software from unknown open sources. You will mostly not be able to identify these links because they look pretty much like the other, regular, harmless ones. What you need to always look for is a warning which you get on the web site’s IP address bar. If you’re lucky enough, your device will notify you with a “not secure” pop-up as soon as you enter such sites/links.
- Misleading advertisements – How often do you get a pop-up window stating that you’ve won some big prize and then asking you to “click in order to claim” the prize? Pretty often? We’re sorry to burst that bubble but what you’re about to “claim” is not a prize, but malware. Such deceiving messages and pop-ups are purposely designed to ruin your device or steal your data.
- Downloading what you are not supposed to – People often come across pop-up messages such as, “download this app to get 1TB internal storage!!!!” while online surfing. Obviously, no online/offline business company is sitting around just to offer 1 terabyte of free internal storage. One really has to be naive to fall for such prey. Downloading random applications and software on your device often acts as a gateway to malware entrance.
- Clickbait – Falling prey to clickbait is undoubtedly a common mistake made by many people. You find an interesting article with a catchy headline somewhere online and then click to read more, just to see your device immediately crash and all your unsaved data immediately lost is not something you expect on a regular day, but surprisingly, it is quite common. Hence, being careful about clickbait posts is an important aspect of keeping viruses and malware away from your device.
- Opening spam emails – Getting your device attacked by a malware is a very normal thing when you are unaware of the cons of over-checking your emails. It is also one of the most common ways to catch a virus online. Spam emails often contain links that can directly expose your device to malware which have the ability to corrupt your device. Hence, it is very important to carefully delete all random spam emails stating, “Open this link to find the attached document.”
- Links shared on social media – Malware does not only restrict itself to links which you might get through spam emails. Many times, different links found on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram can also infect your device with a malicious virus. Imagine coming across a particular video on Facebook which you can only watch if you have access to some “special software.” You should know that the special software can record the log-in password to your device.
- Through exploit kits – Given in the name itself, exploit kits are a harmful toolkit that attacks different software on your computer which have not been updated in a long time. These toolkits can “implant” viruses on your device by attacking all the vulnerable software. Coming in contact with such toolkits is a common affair when you visit random sites that have almost no security standards.
There are many viruses and malware which can permanently delete your data and corrupt your device. They even have ways to reach and attack data that is saved on your cloud/drive. Recovering that data can often cost you a fortune. However, nothing of the above mentioned will happen to you with a little precaution only.