Tricks and Tips To Keep Yourself Protected From Malware

As more people get online they are threatened by over a billion malware programs on the internet. With an 87 percent increase in malware attacks over the last decade, you need to go the extra mile to stay protected. Here are a few tricks and tips to keep yourself protected from malware.

1. Update your Operating System and apps

Similar to a bank, it is impossible to futureproof the security of an app or an operating system. Malicious actors will always try to find new vulnerabilities and exploit them for their own benefit. That’s why it’s important to keep the devices and the apps you use updated.

As new vulnerabilities get exposed, the security teams of those apps patch them as soon as possible and release an update. If you ignore those important updates, those vulnerabilities remain and you risk getting your devices infected with malware.

2. Use strong passwords and 2FA

Weak passwords are the best friend of malware designers. Your birthdate, social security number, and other such information are easy to discover and hack into your account. That’s why you must make your password as complicated as possible and have unique passwords for different accounts. Make sure that your password is at least 8 characters long and has a combination of symbols, special characters, numbers, and alphabets.

Creating and memorizing unique passwords for all the services you use is impossible in the modern age. Consider using a password manager like LastPass that has strong encryption and stores all your unique passwords in a secure vault. You should also use 2-factor authentication along with strong passwords.

Apps like Authy can generate a real-time code that needs to be added along with the password to log into your account. It adds another layer of protection and makes it more difficult for hackers to access your account. If you have been using easily predictable or hackable passwords, your accounts may have been compromised already. You can check if your account has been compromised in an attack at https://haveibeenpwned.com/. Change the password and take all the additional steps to secure your account. 

3. Don’t use pirated websites  

You may not care about downloading a game movie from a pirated website. While downloading copyrighted content from torrent websites is illegal, it’s rarely enforced. However, free things often cost you more than you think.

Hackers often add malware to those files and even tweak the files to exploit vulnerabilities in your system. It’s best to avoid torrent sites and download apps, movies, and software from the official app store or the publisher’s website. Saving a few dollars isn’t worth allowing hackers a backdoor into your system.   

4. Stay updated with the latest attacks

Sometimes software companies can be slow at patching up vulnerabilities. That’s why you must stay updated on the latest malware vulnerabilities to protect the devices at home and at your business. US Homeland Security has a dedicated Cyber Security Division with a watchful eye over such threats. You can check their vulnerability database since it gets updated regularly.

5. Install anti-malware software

Windows has Windows Defender and MacOS has XProtect, their robust anti-malware and anti-virus application. Make sure that they are always activated and use them to regularly scan your device for malware. You may also buy a paid anti-malware program like Kaspersky or Bitdefender that extends the protection to your phone.

With the rise of AI tools, malware attacks are set to increase exponentially. You must take cyber security more seriously. Use these tips to stay shielded against malware and keep your data secure.  

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