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Reducing your exposure to malware online

There’s a good chance that at some point or another you’ve dealth with malware online. From basic spam redirects to much more elaborate ransomware schemes, there’s no shortage of infections your computer can get out there on the web. So how do you reduce your potential exposure to these infections?

Certainly, there are a few steps you can take. And while you can still take every precaution in the book and still find yourself dealing with malware, these steps will at least help keep you safe on the web.

1. Anti-malware. This software acts as a shield to protect you against threats online. Some software is subscription-based, others (like Microsoft Windows Defender) are free. It is recommended to ‘shop around’ and do your research to find a software that adequately suits your needs and meets your budget. Once you decide, be sure to keep virus/malware definitions up to date and have scans scheduled frequently.

2. Keep your browsing habits safe. You should never visit any websites you don’t feel comfortable with. If it doesn’t feel safe, it probably isn’t. If you think something has happened after visiting a suspicious website, scan your computer immediately.

3. Be careful with email attachments. Always be careful with opening email attachments. Examine the file name and extension before opening, even if it’s a trusted sender (their system could be hacked and they could be sending malware without knowing).

4. Keep your operating system up to date. Many of the holes malware exploits could be patched in the latest updates of your operating system. Be sure to conduct updates as frequently as possible to keep your operating system fortified.

5. Ensure the security of your network. If you’re using Wi-Fi, make sure the network is password protected. For larger office environments, ensure all users are taking proper precautions. Yes, infections can spread from computer to computer on your network.

6. Use strong passwords. Ensure your passwords are strong and different for each service you use. Using the same password across multiple services is highly risky.

7. Keep back ups. If you have an issue with malware, you’ll be glad you backed up your files.

So there you have it. The above tips and some common sense will go a long way in protecting you on the web.

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