Table of Contents
Repeated error messages, changes to your homepage and even unexpected shutdowns. Have you experienced any of these problems with your computer? Then you might have cause for concern – these are all tell-tale signs of a computer virus.
If you have fallen victim to malicious software, you aren’t alone. A survey by Statista shows that one-fifth of Brits have discovered a computer virus at least once and 30% don’t even know whether they’re exposed to a potential attack. Although viruses are quite common, you shouldn’t take them lightly. So what exactly should you do if you find one? We’ve written this short guide with that question in mind. Keep reading to find out how you can protect your computer from viruses.
But first, a quick refresher on the basics.
What is a computer virus?
A computer virus is a type of malicious program, coded to alter the way in which your computer operates. Viruses work by attaching themselves to legitimate programs. They then use these to execute their harmful codes.
Viruses have the potential to damage your software. They can also corrupt your business information and even share your details with others. What’s more, they’re able to replicate themselves and spread from one computer to the next.
Clearly, you want to avoid getting a virus on your computer at all costs.
How Can You Protect Your Computer From Viruses and Malware?
Cybercriminals are always inventing new ways to spread viruses. But there are some simple steps that you can take to protect your computer.
1. Use a VPN
Some viruses enter your computer even via malicious online shopping websites. Using a VPN can help with this. A good VPN can detect and block sites that host viruses, meaning that they never reach your device to begin with. They’re easy and simple to use. Search for the best VPN on Chrome or whichever browser you use online.
2. Install antivirus software
This is an essential step in protecting your computer from viruses. Antivirus software scans all the files and programs on your computer. It then eliminates any viruses that it finds.
You can automate your software to run scans at regular intervals. This will help to keep your computer healthy in the long term. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) gives excellent guidance on how to choose antivirus software.
3. Avoid spam or phishing
You might have noticed that your email provider asks permission before downloading attachments. That’s because cybercriminals use email attachments to spread computer viruses. Once you open them, the virus will begin to download to your computer and begin its work.
Don’t open email attachments from anybody that you don’t know. Similarly, leave alone any emails that look strange.
4. Update applications
No matter which operating system you use, always keep it up to date. Developers release patches to fix the security vulnerabilities of previous versions. Likewise, you should keep your antivirus software updated. This will help it to clean your computer most effectively.
Are you using these methods to protect your computer from viruses?