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Secure Your PC; 19 Ways to Prevent Viruses on Your Computer

Jeremy WynnJuly 21, 2021,
Secure Your PC; 19 Ways to Prevent Viruses on Your Computer

Recent cyberattacks on mega-corporations have highlighted the need for stronger protection against cyber threats. Hacking a personal or ordinary business is relatively easier, so we need to know all we can about cybersecurity.

Secure your PC with these pro tips from cybersecurity experts.

1. Limit Unauthorized Software

“First, consider using a computer that restricts what software can be used or requires an App Store. Apple Iphones and iPads are good examples of this. Apple laptops running OS-X and Windows 10 operations systems that only run software from known sources can limit unauthorized software.” (Ron Gula)

2. Reboot Your Computer Daily

“Second, for the general public, I like to tell them to reboot their computer daily if not weekly. This is sort of like wearing masks to prevent COVID - very basic guidance. Rebooting a computer purges memory where malware may  be living and gives operating systems a chance to patch themselves. A more sophisticated recommendation is to tell people to patch their computers and realize that all of their applications have their own update cycles.” (Ron Gula)

3. Encrypt Your Files

“And lastly, everyone should store their files in a place they can be retrieved with strong authentication. This could be a Google or OneDrive share, Dropbox,, .etc. You should be able to get all of your data off of your computer and need a very good password and a second form of authentication, preferably a rotating authentication code.”

Ron Gula, Gula Tech Adventures

4. Install Antivirus

“The best way to prevent virus attacks on computers is to install antivirus software, available for Macs, PCs, and Linux computers. Antivirus software scans computers for viruses, malware, ransomware, adware, spyware, and other cyber attacks. If it finds anything malicious, it will quarantine it in a sandbox where it cannot harm the rest of the computer. Then, it will get rid of the virus. 

“Look for programs that scan for suspicious behaviors rather than just malicious signatures. This means that the software can find malware that’s not already in its database. These days, most  antivirus software scans for suspicious behaviors as well as signatures.”

Aliza Vigderman is Senior Editor and Industry Analyst of the digital security website

5. Don’t Click On Any Spam Link

“Do not open your spam folder, and do not ever click on anything there. These days, just by clicking on a link, you might get infected with something.” (Ezio Razzi)

6. Don’t Download Anything From Unknown Sources

“Do not download anything, unless you are certain of the source. Files “.exe” are the obvious ones to never download, they’re executable and probably malware, but there are many less-obvious ones, hackers can get access to your computer even with excel files (by asking you to activate the macros).” (Ezio Razzi)

7. Be Cautious of Phishing Emails

“Be careful with phishing emails. If you receive an email from a friend or coworker, and you feel something about that person is out of character, like asking you to open a link, or a file, or getting some info, don’t do it. Trust your gut, their account might be compromised.” (Ezio Razzi)

8. Update

“Update browser and apps, constantly, to avoid zero-day malware (recently created malware that has not yet been reported to an antivirus database).Adjust your configuration so that the operating system automatically updates, that way you don’t have to do it manually.”

Ezio Razzi, Network Security Consultant

9. Always Scan Email Attachments

“Email is one of the earliest methods of infection and one that made computer viruses famous in the early days of the internet. Some people spread infections to their friends without even realizing it. Once the account has been compromised, the attackers will utilize it to transmit malicious information to the full address book list. When opening an email attachment or clicking on a link, the most dependable approach to ensure your safety is to scan it with anti-virus software. 

“Virus protection should be included in your email provider's or email provider's email service. Attachments are automatically checked for malware in Gmail, for example. If the email contains a virus, it will be rejected and you will be alerted.”

Alex Claro, VPN Analyst Credit Donkey

10. Use A Malware Scanner

“Although anti-virus is crucial and you should invest in a strong solution,  viruses can still slip through the cracks and be downloaded to your machine. It can often be found lurking in your network, undetected by you. A weekly malware check should be performed to ensure that infections do not spread further through your network and that the damage is minimized. 

“Many of these tools are simple, inexpensive, or even free, and they can be used in conjunction with a backup to ensure that no dangerous files are backed up alongside your other files.”

Rameez Usmani, Tech and Security Expert at the Code Signing Store

11. Avoid Suspicious Websites

“Right today, there are over a trillion web pages on the internet. We spend a lot of time on the internet, doing research, buying, interacting, and so on. It all entails going to numerous websites. While various standards have been developed to ensure that you are at the very least informed when you are about to enter an insecure and potentially harmful website, cyber thieves have discovered ways to circumvent these standards and appear to be legitimate sites. 

“It's not always feasible to tell if a website contains dangerous content immediately. But the devil is in the details. Make a note of the website's URL and check official sources to see if the website is legitimate and exactly what it appears to be. The lock icon next to a URL, while obvious, is one of the first signals that you're on a potentially dangerous website.”

Edward Mellett, Founder/Co-Founder

12. Utilize a DNS filter such as the OpenDNS family shield product

“DNS is an internet system that converts website URLs to their IP addresses so a user doesn't have to  memorize IP addresses (quite thankfully). These services collect large amounts of data and can quickly determine when websites are serving up malware. A user who has this service in place and attempts to navigate to a malicious website would be blocked by this service.” (Dr. Brian Scavotto)

13. Use Security-based Browser Extensions To Extend Your Protection Directly Into The Browser

There are several flavors of these available on every browser. Some examples of these can be found here, but this is not a comprehensive list. (Dr. Brian Scavotto)

14. Use a Linux-Based System

“For the tech savvy, using a Linux-based virtual machine for high-risk browsing is a great idea. Not only is the Linux operating system much lower on the risk spectrum for infection, it's also running in a virtual machine which protects your host machine from threats.” (Dr. Brian Scavotto)

15. Be Diligent With Spotting Phishing Attempts

“A large percentage of malware is delivered via phishing attempts either in an attempt to get a user to click a link or open an attachment. Becoming very familiar with the tell-tale signs of phishing and how to spot them can make a huge impact.” (Dr. Brian Scavotto)

16. Use An Email Security Gateway

“As mentioned in #4, phishing is very high on the list of ways to introduce malware into a system. Using an email security gateway as an extra hop to filter and analyze email messages before they reach your inbox is a great idea. There are consumer-grade options along with enterprise-grade options, many of which are fully cloud based software-as-a-service offerings.” (Dr. Brian Scavotto)

17. Don't Skimp On The Backups 

“No matter how much technology you throw at a problem, sometimes it all fails and you get infected. Backing up your data to a safe third party location could be a key ace in the hole on recovering.”

Dr. Brian Scavotto CISSP,  Cybersecurity Consultant, Proprietor Cornerstone Cybersecurity, LLC

18. Don’t Install Cracked Software

“Although the cracked software can save a lot of money for you, it may contain viruses that can easily infect your computer and ruin the data in it. Some of them can also cause issues to your computer, such as hard-to-detect bugs. So, never use cracked software to protect your computer.”  (Eric Sander)

19. Enable UAC (User Account Control)

“UAC is a Windows fundamental security component, which can be used to mitigate the effect of viruses. When malware makes some changes that need administrator-level permission, the UAC will show up and give you options to approve or refuse the changes. I would highly recommend everyone to turn on the UAC on their computer.”

Eric Sander, Founder at  iActivation

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